Things That Matter

How Many of These International New Year’s Eve Customs Will You Try When You Ring In 2020?

We are literally days away from the end of 2019 and the close of this decade which calls for a larger than usual New Year’s Eve celebration. So, we’re going global with our festivities and looking at ways the rest of the world celebrates the beginning of a new year. Specifically, we wanted to take a closer look at how the countries of the Latinidad observe the worldwide event that comes on December 31st, 2019. 

From Mexico to Brasil, each place has its own unique customs meant to bring good luck, love, travel and money to the observer in the coming months. Take a peak at how New Year’s Eve traditions are done in Latin American countries and its citizens around the world. 

1. Wearing white.

Instagram / @natalinkax01

The color white has always been associated with a fresh start so what better color to signify the new year. In countries like Brasil, wearing white underwear or dressing completely in white is considered good luck. Wearing white while jumping seven waves in the sea and/or placing flowers into the ocean is also thought to inspire fortune with New Year’s Eve celebrators.

2. Eating lentils.

Instagram / @simmertoslimmer

Many New Year’s Eve traditions focus around food that is meant to give the eater some sort of luck and this one is no exception. In Chile, celebrators eat cooked lentils when the clock strikes midnight in order to ensure a prosperous new year. This custom comes from a Roman tradition. Back in the days of ancient Rome, lentils were thought to look like Roman coins so eating them at New Year’s Eve was believed to offer good financial luck. Our money looks a lot different now but here’s hoping that the magic still works.  

3. Hanging up a toy lamb.

Instagram / @kreativation_net

This adorable tradition finds its origins from a play on words. In Mexico and parts of Latin America, it’s customary to hang up a small wool lamb toy at the front door of one’s home so you’ll be blessed financially all year. Called “borreguitos de lana,” the phrase has a double meaning. “Lana” means “wool” and is also slang for money so hopefully your sheep’s lana will bring you plenty of lana in the new year.

4. Sweeping out the old.

Instagram / @papermoonys

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Out with the old and in with the new?” This actually comes from a New Year’s Eve custom observed by many cultures around the world. For instance, the Danish and Japanese people spend the day cleaning so they can enter the new year with a fresh home and a fresh theoretical state. As such, many Latin American countries practice the same by cleaning their houses and sweeping out the old for a fresh start.

5. Dumping a bucket of water out of the window or door.

Instagram / @cookiehumper

In Cuba, the New Year’s Eve tradition is to dump a bucket of water out of the door or window of your home. However, we aren’t talking about just any bucket of water. Remember that cleaning we mentioned? This water is supposed to represent all the bad energy that has been sent your way over the past year. That energy that you’ve collected and cleaned out of your house is now in that dirty water. What could be more satisfying than throwing it out and being rid of it once and for all?

6. Chilling with the Ancestors in a graveyard

Instagram / @dn_urbex

The Latinidad has many customs related to the celebration of death and this is another beautiful one. In Chile, New Year’s Eve merrymakers spend the night at the graveyards where their loved ones have been laid to rest. They bring candles, music, food, wine and fireworks in order to pay tribute to those who have left and acknowledge the coming years.

7. Hiding money around the home.

Instagram / @what_nasty

You might hide money away from yourself throughout the year but, during New Year’s Eve, Ecuadorians believe hiding it on this day will bring you great prosperity. We guess the real luck here is that whoever gets to find the hidden money, gets to keep it in the end.

8. A snack of 12 grapes.

Instagram / @katecauffiel 

The new year is a good time to make wishes for what you’d like to see happen in the future. In Mexico and in several parts of Latin America, there’s a tradition that involves making a wish for each toll of the clock as it strikes midnight. In order to keep track of the wishes, eat a grape with each desire until you’ve devoured all 12. That way, you’re full of hope and a healthy snack!

9. Take a trip around the block. 

Instagram / @tingmystyle

For some, travel is what they most want out of the next year. Colombians are so eager to make this New Year’s wish happen that they have their own tradition for it. When the clock strikes midnight, they run around the block with an empty suitcase in hopes of a travel-filled year.

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BREAKING: After Almost Thirty Years, A Tía Abuela Took The Plastic Off Of Her Chair And Twitter Is Sweating


BREAKING: After Almost Thirty Years, A Tía Abuela Took The Plastic Off Of Her Chair And Twitter Is Sweating

Peter Macdiarmid / Getty

In 2001, the Wall Street Journal wrote a piece about plastic slipcovers. The headline? Plastic Slipcovers Are the Clear Choice For Immigrants — and Trend-Setters. The piece examined the reasons why immigrants in particular use plastic slipcovers. Of course, as children of immigrants and immigrants ourselves, we don’t need A Wall Street Journal article from the early aughts to tell us why they come in handy. Furthermore, why they’ve proven to be a household essential amongst our families. For so many Latino households, slipcovers have been used as protective devices. Things to preserve our furniture for special occasions years and years down the line like if the President or Jesus ever come around. In short, the slipcovers only come off for very special occasions.

One abuela recently decided that she was done waiting for special occasions and stripped the covers off.

In a recent post to a user’s Twitter page, an abuela can be seen carefully doing away with a slipcover she’d been using for 30 years.

In a post to Twitter, a user known as @TheTaeWae shared a video of her great aunt peeling a very old and yellowed slipcover off of her fancy couch. “Y’all my great aunt took the plastic off of her chair for the first time in 30 some years,” she shared in the post.

The great abuela is not the only one pumped though. Users on Twitter cannot get enough of it.

Literally the video is the sweetest thing because the user’s great aunt is so clearly excited to have a chance to sit down on the fancy fabric of the chair.

Fans were super excited to see what the rest of this woman’s house looks likes.

And many users were eager to share cleaning tips to keep the sofa in shape.

Seriously, if you’ve got hot tips tell us in the comments below.

Because some Latinas are revealing that their own aunts and abuelas’ furniture looks like.

And we are here to cheer them on as they take them off.

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A Photographer Is Capturing New Mexico’s Chicanx Community Through Portraits


A Photographer Is Capturing New Mexico’s Chicanx Community Through Portraits

Courtesy of Frank Blazquez

Photographer Frank Blazquez is paying a loving homage to Chicanx culture in the Land of Enchantment. The photographer is showing the world what it looks like to be Chicanx in New Mexico to highlight the diversity in a shared experience.

Frank Blazquez wants to show the world what Chicanx culture looks like outside of California.

“I am an Illinois transplant, so I was fascinated, and eventually obsessed, with the differences in my ethnicity’s iconography,” Blazquez says about the inspiration behind his project “Barrios de Nuevo Mexico: Southwest Stories of Vindication.” “For example, in New Mexico, as opposed to the Midwest and East Coast, there is a strong connection to American geography. You’ll see Latinx people with New Mexico state symbols tattooed directly on their faces and skulls. But refreshing similarities such as hairstyle also struck me.”

The other reason Blazquez started to document these lives was because of the devastating and widespread impact of drug addiction.

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Sleepy with his Daughter

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Blazquez admits to once having a drug problem and eventually overcoming those struggles. Some of the people that he photographs are former drug users or others who have sought redemption.

“I started in 2016 just walking around Albuquerque’s Central Avenue in the War Zone earning my street photography badge. When I almost died a couple of times, I started to use my Instagram page more often to set up shoots and contact homies from my former days of opiate abuse,” Blazquez explains. “My friend Emilio created the random handle @and_frank13 and I kept it after he died in 2017 from drug complications; an event that made me work harder to present portraits of New Mexicans demonstrating faces of dignity, hence my project ‘Barrios de Nuevo Mexico: Southwest Stories of Vindication.'”

Photography was a passion for Blazquez that grew into something bigger than him as he learned.

Blazquez’s interest in photography and love of his culture combined to create a photo series celebrating the people in his life. Blazquez turned his lens to the people in his life to capture a beauty he saw in his own community that is often overlooked and ignored.

Blazquez is hoping to show people that Chicanx culture has spread farther than California because of an exodus.

“Homies escaping the three strikes law in California created an exodus in the ’90s that transferred new symbols from organizations, namely 18th Street, Sureños, and Norteños,” Blazquez explains about the Chicanx community in New Mexico. “As New Mexico is an expanse of serene beauty that attracts people to escape from former lives, in turn, symbols were exchanged such as black and gray tattoo and font styles with purist craft structure adhering to Southwest archetypes—fat ass cursive and serif fonts with ornate filigree stems.”

He acknowledges that California is known for its Chicanx and Latinx communities but there is so much more to teach people.

“LA fingers do not represent the millions of brown people outside of California and it certainly does not represent native-born New Mexicans,” Blazquez explains. “I learned the Latinx experience is entirely different in various locations—the California stereotype doesn’t carry itself across America. It’s enlightening to know that brown culture grows and adapts independently.”

The photographer also wants to teach people that the Latino community is vast and diverse.

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Homemade New Mexican Tattoos // #dukecity

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“That the Latin-spectrum in America is not pigeonholed to any sole category,” Blazquez says. “Knowing that the labels Mexican, Mexican-American, Chicanx (a/o), Latinx (a/o), Hispanic, Mexica (not Hispanic nor Latino), Indo-Latino, Afro-Latinx (a/o) are just several of the hundreds of labels available to classify my culture’s diaspora is important.”

“Duke City Diaries” is a mini-series on YouTube that Blazquez has produced to take you deeper into the lives of the people in his photos.

“I knew the profound faces from my 2010’s New Mexico experience would make great art and explain an important POC narrative at the same time,” Blazquez says. “Creating the short YouTube documentary series “Duke City Diaries” was also an offshoot from my portraiture and one that created distinct reception. The hateful and racist comments kept me moving forward to show a larger audience that racism still exists.”

Blazquez is currently working on a new photo series called Mexican Suburbs diving deeper into his themes of Chicanx culture and the opioid crisis.

READ: Photographer Diego Huerta Took An Update Photo Of The Most Beautiful Girl In Mexico

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