Most visitors who have been in Mexico on New Year’s Eve have eaten twelve grapes and some even know they symbolize the twelve months to come. A separate wish is made with each grape eaten and in some areas it is custom to chomp them down with the ringing of the church bells that gong twelve times at midnight. Grapes go well with the lentils, usually served in soup form, that represent economic abundance. You only need a spoonful, just after those bells stop ringing, at the final stoke of the old year and, of course, once your twelve grapes have been devoured. It’s a guarantee that the following year will bring riches beyond your wildest imaginings. We’ll be eating our grapes once again this year in great anticipation.
You also might want to wear your underwear inside out and make sure it’s red (or in some regions yellow) to assure a future abundant with love, passion and a new wardrobe… all these things.
Most importantly, sweep all the old dirt out the front door so you can easily deal with the new dirt of the coming year, of which there promises to be less.
Our favorite tradition/superstition is the lamb on the front door. Perhaps you’ve purchased one of the fluffy little darlings from the young girls who vend them in the evenings, strolling from bar to bar. It seems like the cutest custom, and the sheep, large and small, are adorable. After some investigation, we have determined where this oddity originated. It gives one a sense of how twisted and intertwined cultures and rituals can become. Non-Jews may not realize the true meaning of Passover, a celebration that actually takes place in the spring, in which the liberation of the Israelites is commemorated. As the story goes, Israelites marked the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a slaughtered spring lamb to avert the deadly spirit plagued upon all first born sons, causing it to Pass Over these families. Add to this the fact that the evil and furious King Herod ordered all baby boys under the age of two to be murdered in hopes of including the Christ child in his carnage. Herod had discovered he’d been tricked by the Three Wise Men who avoided informing him of the birth place of the Savior, to spare the baby’s life. Even though these two incidents have absolutely no relation in time or event, it’s easy to see how one can toss in a splash of Hollywood-ish mumbo jumbo and somehow a new superstition transpires over the eons! Let’s make it a lot more palatable and the blood of the slaughtered lamb has become a sweet dangling toy. We’ve got one on the front and the back doors. Hope we don’t jinx ourselves. Happy New Year!
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Thanks to our guest blogger Adam Garcia for this article!
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