Learning a bit more about the Bolivian culture is definitely part of my ‘unofficial duties‘ as an expat and a mother… We have lived in different places, and each country has its own way to greet the coming year… in Brazil, our previous post, the New Year is celebrated in white clothes, and at midnight, asking for blessings from Yemanjá, the protector of the waters.
Regarding the many different traditions for welcoming the New Year, the beautiful country of Bolivia couldn’t stay behind others, and for sure, brings out its very own expression of ‘luck’…
This time, I was quite surprised to find out how: WEARING YELLOW (AND/OR) RED UNDERWEAR! Similar to countries like Mexico, where colorful underwear is a ‘must-have’ for the New Year’s Eve, here in Bolivia, it’s important when the underwear is changed.
People have to buy some yellow [or red] underwear piece and wait for midnight… When it comes, they just run to a place to change it and believe that their luck will change as well! It’s also believed that this practice helps them find a loving mate. Red means an amorous love life ahead and yellow expresses the desire to gain money and wealth. The wishes of the locals are expressed via their underpants.
Think I’m just making it up? Take a look at the largest open market in Achumani, a residential area in La Paz, and tell me what you spot from the selling stands! ♥ The Cholitas selling their articles probably thought I was another ‘crazy foreigner‘ when asked them for permission to snap these shots… and they were a bit disappointed when learned I wasn’t gonna buy any pieces… ‘aren’t you concerned about your good fortune for next year?’ And with a smile, I just kindly thanked them for their time and help, and for explaining the meaning behind the colors; but told them I was happy with my present fortune… and that I’d be okay for the New Year’s, despite lacking a piece of undergarment displaying a money sign…
Wishing all a very HAPPY, COLORFUL & LUCKY NEW YEAR!
[even if you could not get your red/yellow piece of underclothing for good luck!]
- Snapshots of the Ballet Folklorico de Potosi, Bolivia. A dinner and dance presentation in La Paz. (3rdculturechildren.com)
- Pachamama: Mother of All (takingtotheopenroad.wordpress.com)
- New Year’s Day Superstitions (nightcaptv.com)
- 11 Unusual New Year’s Eve Traditions (lasesana.wordpress.com)