1. What colour underpants are you wearing?
My Spanish family instilled in me the sensible belief that one must wear red knickers on New Year's Eve. My Colombian husband says the colour of my underpants should be yellow. After a little research, it would appear that it's predominantly Latin countries that seem obsessed with the colour of their new year skivvies, and that different colours are worn in the hope of specific outcomes. Red is for love, and yellow is for money, and both are entirely acceptable. Next problem, how to wear them? According to a Bolivian site I stumbled across, if you wear them backwards all night you're making a wish for a new wardrobe in the new year!
2. What are you going to burn?
I used to think you were supposed to burn your new year red knickers, but I think my Spanish family must have been teasing me, because we never actually did any ritualistic burning of undergarments. Not knickers, but Año Viejo (Old Year) is what I'll be burning with my Colombian family this year. He takes the form of a scarecrow, much like Guy Fawkes. A nice addition to the proceeding is to write down on a strip of paper what you don't want from the last year, and what you want for the new year, and burn that too. Therapeutic, I reckon.
3. Is your suitcase ready?
Just after midnight in Colombia people run around the block with an empty suitcase to ensure a year filled with travel. Tonight will be my first experience of this. The best bit about it is you don't actually have to pack!
4. Who is bringing the grapes?
My friends in London were baffled when I asked before one New Year's party who was bringing the grapes. It made me realise I must have spent most of my new year's in Spain or at home with my family. In Spain, people eat twelve grapes, one at each dong of the bell at midnight. The TV presenters televised from La Puerta del Sol in Madrid chatter away until that moment, always looking freezing cold in their glamorous outfits. Eating 12 grapes is a lot more fun when you're a little kid and you can't eat them fast enough and then you get the giggles. If you don't fancy grapes, then why not eat a spoonful of lentils as they do in Chile?
5. Have you scribbled down your New Year's Resolutions?
On 31st December in 1661, Samuel Pepys wrote down his New Year's Resolutions. I think they involved starting back at the gym and giving up drinking in January. Could this hint at New Year's Resolutions being a British tradition? I need at least one! Don't worry, I'm not going to write out a long list here, I'm still working on last year's New Year's Visualisations!
Whichever colour underpants you decide to wear, whether you choose to eat twelve grapes or drink twelve shots, whether your first meal on New Year's Day is lentils or alka seltzer - I wish you all the love, good health and prosperity for the New Year!