OUT AND ABOUT BRAZIL by Corinne Marian
New Years’ Eve
If you’ve never been to Rio de Janeiro to celebrate the New Years’ Eve, you are certainly missing out.
The vibe, the fireworks display at the beach, the music, people dancing on the sand, barefoot and hopeful of happy new beginnings. Nothing compares to the feeling of starting fresh – a blank page to be filled with good news throughout the year which is about to start.
Aside from the spectacular fireworks show in Copacabana – as well as in other parts of Brazil – there are some traditions followed by almost all Brazilians, which are already part of the celebration and every tourist should know about:
- Wear white – It comes from the Candomble. In the 70s, the followers of this religion used to go to Copacabana beach wearing white to greet the New Year – it represents peace and purity. Throwing flowers to Iemanja, the Queen of the Sea, is also part of the ritual.
- Jumping the seven waves – a tradition brought by the slaves who came to Brazil from Africa, you must jump 7 waves to open the way to the New Year. And never turn your back to the sea – walk backwards to show your respect. The number 7 also comes from the Cabala, and it means luck.
- Eat lentils – this should be the first thing you eat, as soon the New Year starts. It is an Italian tradition, brought by the immigrants who came to live in Brazil. Some say the shape of the grain looks like a coin and it will bring money. However the real meaning is abundance and wealth.
- Burn incense – it is meant to clean and purify a home. A custom brought by the Indians from the Amazon, it consists of mixing specific herbs from the Rain Forest to produce plenty of aromatic smoke.
- Avoid eating poultry – this is more of a superstition – generally chickens and other birds move backwards while pecking at the ground. You should eat animals and fish that move forward, to bring prosperity.
- Drink sparkling wine – a worldwide tradition, wine represents wisdom and life. It brings luck and prosperity for those who drink it. If drank from a crystal glass, it renews your spiritual energy.
- Kissing – It doesn’t matter who; when the clock strikes midnight, make sure to kiss everyone around you, either you know them or not. Love is all you need.
Cheers to all, wherever the New Year’s takes you!