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Bolivian New Year’s Tradition: Underwear for Good Luck!

This will be our family’s second New Year’s eve in Bolivia… and the last one, since next Summer we’re headed out to our next adventure! :o Life in the Foreign Service, baby!

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:o

Wishing all a very HAPPY, COLORFUL & LUCKY NEW YEAR! :o

[even if you could not get your red/yellow piece of underclothing for good luck!]

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Identity, Tradition & Folklore in Bolivia: The Challa Ceremony honoring Pachamama and blessing a new home.

Learning a bit more about the Bolivian culture – part of my ‘unofficial duties’ as an expat and a mother… The harmonious relationship between the Indian population and the Mother Nature is very present in the handycraft industry, the musical folklore, and the religion. The worship dedicated to the natural divinities influences the daily life of the Indian community on the altiplano. Bolivians have a great respect and veneration of Pachamama, the goddess of the Earth. In her honor, offerings (challa) of small object with symbolic value are deposited or burned in the medium of incantations and prayers. There are lots of rituals dedicated to Pachamama, as for example, the construction of a new house must be preceded by a small blessing ceremony; another common ritual is before swallowing a glass of beer or liquor, one must honor Pachamama, while pouring a few drops on the ground.
A few months ago, family was invited to a friend’s house warming. The original couple has moved to Bolivia over a decade ago, and are strengthening their roots with this beautiful country, in more ways than one… They’re a loving, caring family, who has elected Bolivia as their home, and the home for their children.

As part of the ‘open house’ celebrations, the guests could appreciate a Challa Celebration, in honor of the new house, a new home for years to come. Sharing here are a few snapshots of this folkloric celebration, and wishing our friends and their family many years of happiness at their new home! ♥

Guests and their family members were invited to participate in the ceremony.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2013 in BOLIVIA, expat, photography

 

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Bolivian New Year’s Tradition: Underwear for Good Luck!

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:o

Wishing all a very HAPPY, COLORFUL & LUCKY NEW YEAR! :o

[even if you could not get your red/yellow piece of underclothing for good luck!]

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Eleven months of folklore in Brazil: dressing accordingly…

In Brazil there’s always an excuse to dress up for parties and/or traditional celebrations. Here’s a small sample of our kids’ past 11 months in-country:

Day of Folklore, honoring a national writer, dressing up as a talking doll, from Sítio do Picapau Amarelo, Ms Emilia, Marquesa de Rabicó:

Dia das Bruxas – Halloween. At school and with the neighbors

Carnaval, as traditional Frevo dancers

Matutinho & Matutinha, ready for the June Celebrations!

and off to School they go!!

 

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