Out with the old, Ring in the new

The last days of the year are always the same: hurrying to buy all the necessary Christmas gifts, decorating the house, cooking the Christmas dinner, entertaining all the guests, writing hundreds of cards… WOW! And then Christmas is gone. On the 26th our well deserved rest should begin.

Four days later, however, it starts all over: buying drinks, cleaning up the house, cooking, smiling, hosting everyone gracefully… again. But now there is no Santa, no more gifts. It is not Christmas, it is New Year´s eve!

In Brazil, New Year’s celebrations are huge: parties everywhere, loud music and fireworks enliven the Brazilians, who dance and party until sunrise. The traditions vary regionally, but the joy is constant.
Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro, is one of the most popular places. Millions of people go there to see the famous fireworks and the colorful candles floating on the sea. The candles are put there as an offering to Iemanjá, the Goddess of the Water in the Brazilian Umbanda religion.

Brazilians have many traditions that are supposed to bring good luck in the coming year. One of them is eating lentils right after 12 o´clock on January 1st. In Brazil the lentil is believed to bring wealth and fortune, so many people put them inside a napkin and keep them in their wallet for the entire year.
The underwear is also important: it should be new and in a color representing what you wish for yourself next year. White for peace, green for health, red for passion, yellow for money and pink for romance. But obviously you should not wear multi-colored underwear as it does not guarantee that you´ll have a bit of everything.

The strongest Brazilian tradition is also within the clothing vein: one should wear white on New Year´s Eve. The color is said to bring peace – and almost everyone at the parties or at the beach (which is where most Brazilians celebrate) is dressed in white.

New Year´s Eve is time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and decide how we will achieve them. So write down your list of resolutions, but don´t forget to see them through.

Happy New Year! I wish you a 2009 full of accomplishment.

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