Culture

New Years Eve Superstitions And Traditions That We All Swear By Because They Work

We all know that the magic of Jan. 1 is the promise of a fresh slate with mint new opportunities for love, dinero y good luck. Most people get drunk and kiss someone while they watch a giant ball drop in New York.

Latinos have a whole different method to ensure good luck, safe travels and hot sex in the new year and nobody else will understand.

If you’re Camila Cabello, you tweet this every year.

CREDIT: @CCabelloFR / Twitter

In 2016, she admitted the superstitions got to her and now she feels morally obligated to tweet that every year. I get it. Traditions make the magic happen. We bet she does literally all of this, too.

We get drunk off coquito and stuff our bodies with leftover tamales/pasteles.

CREDIT: @Latinegro / Twitter

You make enough tamales or pasteles at Buena Noche to last you until NYE because if your body doesn’t enter the New Year with food so entrenched in tradition, you get the same creepy feeling Camila gets when she considers not tweeting about her last shower. You just do it. You eat and get drunk.

Because we reuse everything, you also make sure everybody gets a chupito de coquito.

CREDIT: @JayomegaSO / Twitter

I don’t know what all this is, but we’re here for the Bacardi and we’re not going to drink it straight. Do as our ancestors taught us and prosper.

You eat 12 grapes at midnight.

CREDIT: @AmandaSalas / Twitter

One for every month of the year. Most of us make a wish for every month if we’re coherent enough to form thoughts.

Before the festivities, you scrub that house clean.

CREDIT: @ChaosAndConrad / Twitter

Because we’re all about the metaphors and superstitions. Clean the juju out of su casa unless you want to carry it all with you into the new year.

And then toss the dirty water out the window.

CREDIT: @chang40 / Twitter

*NOT* down the drain. The superstition is if you throw the bucket of dirty water out the window, that’s what officially washes you of bad juju.

Oh and before midnight, you do one last sweep.

CREDIT: @BraTheo_7 / Twitter

We’re nothing if not thorough. Plus, it’s a way to make sure the kids know that they’re always on the clock.

Lentejas bring you good luck so eat the most.

CREDIT: @bruccellati / Twitter

You also warn your date that the farts will be with them tonight, but it’ll all be worth it because you’re about to be their good luck charm in 2019. Come, come, come.

You run around the barrio with your luggage.

CREDIT: @damarizz14 / Twitter

Well, that’s what we all know we’re supposed to do, but we’re all too lazy and proud to actually go outside and do it. So you run around the house with your luggage so that your year is blessed with travels. It works!

Wear white for prosperity. Never wear black.

CREDIT: @beauty_newnew / Twitter

Maybe it’s the Santería in us, maybe it’s the Brazileño, but wherever this superstition comes from, we abide by its laws. The luck of the new year is all in the color of su ropa.

Want your year de amor? Wear red underwear.

CREDIT: @UndiesMX / Twitter

For some reason, our parents will be the first to tell you that if you wear red underwear, you’ll attract your soulmate in the next year. “It’s the law of attraction,” they say.

Want that money? Wear fresh yellow panties.

CREDIT: @Dingo_Bln / Twitter

I know. I hate the word ‘panties,’ too, but this is the script in the Great Book of Superstitions. They all say to wear yellow panties if you want good fortune next year. Don’t shoot the messenger.

Another way to earn that dough is by holding silver coins in your hand at midnight.

CREDIT: The Late Show / CBS

I mean, this one makes sense–if you follow the Law of Attraction. Make it rain, 2019.

Screw your left foot. You’re standing on your right at midnight to start the year off right.

CREDIT: The Little Mermaid / Disney

Just like we all know to walk onto an airplane with your right foot for life-saving luck, we all know to flamingo it up at midnight. Raise your hand if you made a fool of yourself the first NYE with blanquitos. ????????

Burn your enemies. Literally.

CREDIT: @Anna_Mazz / Twitter

Burn photos of the men that ghosted you, of the boss who unfollowed you on social media, of every resentment you hold dear in your heart from this terrible, terrible year. Don’t carry it with you–let the fire take it all.

Palo Santo your entire home and cuerpo.

CREDIT: @MendesCrewInfo / Twitter

Some of us use sage but most of us use Palo Santo. We flood the house with it’s purifying smoke to rid the house of ghosts, bad energy, etc. to make room for the good that’ll come with the new year.

Every single light must be on in the house at midnight.

CREDIT: @roshnip77 / Twitter

It’s the one time of year your mami isn’t running around, turning off lights, yelling, “Y que? Piensas que soy un banco?” It “brightens” the new year.

Quick! Do three squats.

CREDIT: GIPHY

Well, it’s more like, get off your ass and stand up. Now sit back down and do that three more times. Voila! You’re going to get married next year. De nada.

It’s 2018 so we’re creating new traditions.

CREDIT: @BadSalishGirl / Twitter

Honestly, mosre people need to get in on this one.

I’ll be saving my energy to smash white corporate supremacy in 2019, hbu?

CREDIT: @Shannon_Grayson / Twitter

What crazy traditions will you keep and which will you bury? Comment below!


READ: NYE Traditions That Seem Weird AF To Everyone Else But Latinos

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Señora Myths are Passed Down From Generation to Generation, But Are Any of Them Real?

Culture

Señora Myths are Passed Down From Generation to Generation, But Are Any of Them Real?

MIFAMILIABRAVA / INSTAGRAM

At some point during our formative years, we all heard an old wives’ tale or two, right? Some seemed innocent enough — think “eating bread crust will make your hair turn curly” or “cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis.”

But actually, lots of these old wives’ tales came with some extra baggage that may have done a number on our collective psyche. Sure, they may have seemed harmless when we first heard them, they’ve managed to worm themselves into our thought patterns and maybe even created a few bad habits along the way. But don’t blame abuela, she too was passed down this knowledge before she passed it on to you.

These superstitions get passed down from generation to generation, and often enough they’re so effective they get snap us into total compliance. But few of us know why we’re so fearful or the reason behind them.

Nevertheless, these old wives tales are part of Latino culture.

Vick’s Vapor Rub Will Cure Everything

@AFRAIDOFTHEGAYS / TWITTER

Sure, you may know it as Vaporub or something totally different depending on where you grew up, but no matter your background, we can agree this menthol pomade has been hailed as a cure all by abuelas everywhere.

Sure the ointment may make us feel better (placebo anyone?) but it actually can be deadly if ingested and is toxic when used improperly.

Having A Baby Daughter Will Steal Your Beauty

Credit: Shutterstock Images

This sends several problematic messages. First of all, it implies there is something inherently wrong with having a daughter — which is obviously ridiculous. I swear this sounds like something a man who wanted a strapping young boy to “carry on his good name” started spreading.This old wives’ tale would have you believe beauty is entirely physical or superficial. But beauty is many things: mental, physical, emotional, psychological… none of which can be stripped away by the natural and, it must be said, beautiful act of giving birth to a baby.

You Can’t Make Tamales When You’re Angry

Credit: Pixabay

According to this old wives’ tale, if you even attempt to make tamales when you’re enojada…they just won’t turn out right. And nobody’s wants to work so hard on tamales for them to end up flat and flavorless.

Opening An Umbrella Inside Is The Worst Luck

Seriously, this one I believe in so much I freak out at even the thought of it happening by accident. This is another superstition that crosses cultures but leave it to Latinos to add in another layer – if you do this, you won’t get married.

Going Out With Wet Hair When It’s Cold Will Make You Sick

If you grew up in a Latino household, you can bet you’re used to hearing your mom or abuelita scolding you for going outside with wet hair. But this myth has been debunked more times than you’ll eat pozole when you do actually have a cold. Colds and the flu come from viruses (and some bacterias) – plain and simple.

You’ll Never Get Married If A Broom Touches Your Feet

Credit: Pixabay

Basically, if you’re single and ready to mingle, don’t go near any brooms. This old wives tale says that if someone is sweeping and they accidentally brush your feet with the broom, you’ll end up single forever.

To Find Love, All You Need Is Four Eggs

Credit: Pixabay

To draw someone to you, you need 4 eggs: break two in corners, and one more at the door of the person you want to attract. The last one put inside a white cup and place it under your bed. That’s it. True love.

Cutting Your Hair During A Full Moon Could Mean…?

Credit: Pixabay

It’s believed that cutting your hair during a full moon could actually make it grow faster. Is it true? Well, maybe. The long-trusted Farmers Almanac actually lists the best dates to cut your hair based on the lunar calendar…so maybe?

Shaving Your Legs Causes the Hair to Grow Back Darker

Credit: Pixabay

Let’s be clear: there’s nothing wrong with not shaving. This old tale would have you believe that having thicker or darker hair anywhere on your body is cause for major concern. The reality is that cutting does not stimulate new hair growth.

Brooms Can Help Determine Your Social Life

Credit: Pixabay

Again, with the brooms. This one says that if you put a broom behind the door, your guests will leave sooner. And if a broom falls, it can tell you a lot about your visit depending on the direction it falls. Backward = bad visit. Forward = good visit.

Putting Your Purse On The Floor

Credit; Growing Up Blackxican

“A purse on the floor is money our the door.” This isn’t specific to Latino families, in fact, it’s very common belief across Asia as well. But both cultures share the believe that if you place your purse on the floor, you’ll soon be losing some money.

Itchy Palms And Your Finances

Credit: Pixabay

This is another very common wives tale across cultures but Latinos add a unique twist and get very specific. Basically, if your right palm itches you’ll be coming into some coins. Meanwhile, if it’s the left – be prepared to be a little less wealthy since you’ll likely be giving money away.

Heartburn During Pregnancy Can Lead To A Head Full Of Hair

Credit: Pinterest

There are soooo many superstitions related to pregnancy but this one is definitely interesting. Woman struggle with all sorts of symptoms during pregnancy including heartburn. So this one stands to reason if you’re dealing with heartburn, your baby will be born with beautiful locks of hair.

If You Drop a Biscuit, It is a Sure Sign Your Husband Will Be Poor

Credit: The Pioneer Woman

This one is straight up laughable but for some reason is still all to common. I mean let’s dissect this one real quick: not all little girls are going to grow up to marry a man. Nor will every little girl even want to get married. Then there’s the whole issue with thinking that women only value wealth in their potential mate. Yea, this one has got to go.

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Día De Los Reyes Was The First Time I Allowed My S.O. To Experience My Culture

Culture

Día De Los Reyes Was The First Time I Allowed My S.O. To Experience My Culture

bolilloscafe /Instagram

For many who regularly take part in the holiday season, Christmas traditions are strongly tied to religious beliefs and practices. The ways in which the customs around the holiday season are carried out often deeply rooted in cultural rituals and they often vary from family to family. For my Puerto Rican family, the holiday season is drawn out well past the first of January when radio stations reel back on the jingles and Mariah Carey classics. For us, the Twelve Days Of Christmas sales or songs we know of don’t relate to the days leading up to December 25, but rather the twelve days in between Christmas Day and January 6 The Epiphany, a biblical day that marks the final leg of the  Three Wise Men’s journey to deliver gold, frankincense and myrrh to Jesus Christ.

Día De Los Reyes has always been an especially important day for my family. The fact that “reyes” is my mother’s maiden name has only made the day a little sweeter.

Photo provided by Wandy Felicita Ortiz

A more popular holiday back on the island, my abuela and abuelo Reyes brought their traditions to the mainland with them in the 1950s.

On the evening of January 5, each member of my family from grandfather to my youngest sobrino pull out cardboard shoe and clothing boxes (all marked with our names, drawn on and decorated over the years with crayons, markers, and glitter pens) to take part in a tradition that we hold dear in our hearts. After we’ve filled the boxes with snacks like carrots, lettuce, and sometimes grass for the Three Kings’ camels to munch on as they pass through our town we stick the boxes under our beds. Finally, just as we would with Santa Claus, we write the Three Kings–Los Reyes–a handwritten note wishing them safe travels as the journey to see the baby Jesus hoping that as they did with him on that first Epiphany, they’ll leave a small gift or token of some sort under our boxes.

Dia De Los Reyes functions similarly to Christmas Eve in my family. We all wake up and check under our boxes to see if we were good enough this year to receive any gifts. We’d go to mass together, where as kids we’d hope that maybe Los Reyes stayed in town with their camels long enough that day to be at the church community center to pose for photos. We would visit family and eat pernil and arroz con gandules, dishes reserved for celebrations and holidays.

As I got older I went to mass only sometimes and stopped looking to get my photos with Los Reyes.

Photo provided by Wandy Felicita Ortiz

I never stopped checking my box for gifts though, or remembering each rey by the names older relatives taught me to write in my letters: Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar. As an adult I focused on new ways to celebrate “being a king,” as my family would say, and took on the role of expert coquito maker.

When I started dating and began wanting to bring boyfriends home for the holidays, part of my new role during the holiday season also unintentionally became one of both gatekeeper and teacher of my Puerto Rican culture. As a sophomore in college, I brought my then boyfriend home for December for the first time. In my household, Noche Buena, Christmas Day, New Years Day, New Year’s Eve, and Dia De Los Reyes were all days set aside for family, exclusively. I knew not to ask for exceptions, and in the past had willfully or grudgingly passed up holiday and New Years parties to honor the expectation of being en familia.

But in my twenties I badly started to yearn for my first New Years kiss and wanted, even more, to share part of my twelve days of Christmas with somebody who mattered to me.

My parents, on the other hand, were hesitant. Dia De Los Reyes was about Los Reyes, as in my family.

My boyfriend was someone they saw a few times a year and knew of only from phone calls, letters, texts, and video chats. Someone so unfamiliar certainly wasn’t considered family, and moreover someone who wasn’t Latino couldn’t possibly understand the sanctity of the day we’d honored so lovingly all our lives.

Most concerning of all, Dia De Los Reyes is also known among some circles as “the poor man’s Christmas,” my grandparents’ explanation being that back in the days of Jesus, being a king didn’t mean wealth like it means today. It meant that the giftschildren and observers receive in their boxes today are small, like a $10 gift card, socks, some mittens, or maybe candy. The last thing my family needed was for some guy they didn’t know to reach into an old shoebox of all things, pull out socks, and think we were cheap. With some convincing and a little grumbling, my family allowed me to write my boyfriend’s name on a box, fill it with lettuce and put it under my bed on January 5.

That night as I lay in bed, I did feel nervous knowing that I was bringing somebody into such a special part of my life that no one had ever seen before outside of my parents. Earlier in the day, I made sure to explain to him how seriously my family took our family only traditions, and how it wasn’t just about the religious holiday but the namesake that ties us to one another. I felt silly as I highlighted decorating beat-up boxes as one of my favorite traditions, something I hadn’t ever admitted out loud. Quiet and reserved, he listened to my stories but didn’t ask any questions.

In the morning, I still had my family only morning mass and our opening of gifts, but later that day my boyfriend was invited over for pasteles, coquito, and the checking of his first and only Three Kings Day box.

My parents observed with critical eyes as he went through the motions of our traditions, seeming charmed by the gifts of a hat and gloves left resting on top of torn up shreds of lettuce, proof that Los Reyes had come through our house. As he followed our lead I sat hoping that by participating in the events himself, he might better understand where my love for my culture comes from, or maybe even briefly feel the same sense of childhood joy I do on that day each year. Admittedly, it was an awkward day for everyone involved and not filled with all the magic I had hoped for. Nonetheless, I still felt proud of myself for being able to break down a barrier that had long existed between myself and not only romantic connections but a friend, too.

I wanted the opportunity to show those outside of my family the part of my identity that I hadn’t always made transparent in my daily life, even if that meant that they didn’t understand or wouldn’t “get it” at first.

Photo provided by Wandy Felicita Ortiz

Even though the person who got to take the test run of my family only traditions and I aren’t together anymore, a few years ago he broke the mold for being able to bring others into a part of my life I was using to shutting so many close to me out of.n Maybe he did think that of us, our gifts, or the day we celebrate as cheap, but after the fact I, didn’t care. In the years that have followed, what has mattered most to me has been that I could start sharing Reyes, this name that laid down the foundation to who I am before I was ever born, and all the nuances that come with it with those I want to know me better.

This Dia De Los Reyes will be one of a few Reyes family festivities that my current boyfriend will be participating in, and another year where my family pulls out his box and welcomes his extra cheer into our holidays. While he’s still learning about my roots, I’m still learning that I can take these moments and use them to bring myself closer to my culture and my loved ones.


Read: Twitter’s Latest Hashtag Fights Back Against The Normalization Of Death And Violence Against Migrant Youth

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