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Portuguese New Year Traditions

The more I learn about our beautiful Portuguese culture, the more I see to appreciate in it.  We’re an expressive culture that practices our traditions with flair and attention to the smallest details. For example, New Year is celebrated with everything from lighting up the sky with bursts of color to color coordinating new underwear!  I’ll explain.

At the stroke of midnight, many things happen in Portugal that are believed to set the tone for the coming new year.  Expansive and elaborate displays of fireworks go off in many areas of the country.  These are believed to ward off evil and purify the new year of the previous lingering problems.  Underneath this technicolor display, car horns blast and pots are banged to chase off bad luck.  Never let be said that we Portuguese don’t cover all our bases when it comes to keeping bad luck and negative energy at bay.  At the same time as the flashing lights and banging pots are going on, the Portuguese believe it’s important to eat 12 grapes (or raisins) while making a wish with each one.  Each grape represents a month of the incoming year.  These two practices are common throughout the world.  But one practice that I believe the Portuguese have cornered the market on is this business with the underwear. 

In Portugal, it’s believed that the energy you want to bring in is dictated by the color of the new underwear you’re wearing as you ring in the new year!  According to several articles on Portuguese New Year traditions, this practice is not only real but there’s a color code associated with it.  If you want to bring in better luck, wear blue.  If you want to bolster your career, wear brown.  Should you be focused on non-material matters such as wishing for personal peace, keep it white. If you require more love, be regal in red.  And if you’re in need of gaining improved health, go green. Of course, along with these colorful traditions, there are the more somber ones seeped in the religious beliefs of the Portuguese.   From observing the symbolic arrival of the Three Wise Men to singing special old songs called Janeiras, these practices are important to the people of Portugal and equally beautiful as Portugal’s lighter New Year’s traditions.    

From your friends at Rooster Camisa, Happy New Year and Feliz Ano Novo! 

 

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