FELIZ AÑO NUEVO – HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
The first week of January is already over…the fireworks are forgotten, the champagne has been drunk and the new year has begun in earnest. Ordinary life resumed here in Chile a little sooner than in South Africa since the 2nd was not a public holiday. Bright and early on Monday morning I was on the metro along with many other Santaguinos heading off to work. In many ways New Years felt like any other weekend.
This was my second New Year in South America and just as in Brazil last year, I find it amazing how many new year traditions/superstitions/customs there are in this part of the world. I can´t speak for all cultures in South Africa, but I can say that I never did anything particular on new years eve, apart from occasionally think of a resolution or two for the coming year.
My favourite custom that I learnt in Brazil last year was to wear white for the night. It was wonderful to go to the beach in Florianopolis and see everyone dressed in white – symbolising good luck and peace for the coming year. That night I decided to try and continue this tradition wherever I am in the world.
Me in white and Rodrigo proudly wearing his African shirt. It felt like a little bit of home was with us here in Santiago.
We said goodbye to 2011 and greeted 2012 with a few friends and family!!! It was one of the most international news years I have had in a while…
Chile, Germany, Spain, Italy, Mexico and South Africa!!!
With such a global party, we chatted about the different traditions around the world… In Chile you won´t be surprised to see people eating 12 grapes at midnight (one for each month of the year), sipping champagne from a glass with a golden ring in it (for love), swopping their yellow underwear, hopefully this is done in private, from inside out to the right way round (symbolising happiness and good times). I have no idea about the inside out part of the process though and was quite glad that no one at our party decided to wip off their pants. You will also probably see people going for a walk around the block with their luggage if they are keen to travel alot in the next year. You would think this is the one tradition I would have been keen to follow, but time and space and place did not really allow it. I did take a moment to think about my bright red backpack and how I hope that it will be on my back many many times in 2012, so we will see whether that works as well as the superstition.
Then there are also various other traditions relating to economic prosperity such as eating lentils or Patricia told us that in Germany it is any kind of meal with rice. You should also put money in your shoes.
So much to do and remember all at the strike of midnight and all while trying to also watch the fireworks. For us the champagne (without the gold ring), grapes and fireworks won…
In the days leading up to the celebrations, the nightly news reports were all talking about the preparations of hundreds of tonnes of fireworks across different municipalities in Santiago. Luckily from our apartment building we had a perfect view of the main show from the Entel communication tower smack bang in the city centre. And besides that, we had views to to at least 3 other shows.
Looking left to the Entel tower…
and right to Cerro Blanco…
It was like a tennis match…it soon became a competition to see which show was the best. I think the final verdict went to Cero Blanco since we were in the municipality of Recoleta which put on that show and we all felt it worthwhile to support the underdog who obviously had less money to put towards a pyrotechnic display, but did a superb job!!!! Felicitaciones Recoleta! The first 25 minutes of the new year was spent oohing and aahing at the spectaculars across the city. All in all a fun way to bring in the new year!!!
Look left…and right…and left again
During this time every year, we reflect on the year passed and look ahead with expectation and hope to the new year. I am not going to get all philosophical about 2011, except to say that it was a year with many great moments (too many to mention) and some not so great moments (such as my knee surgery). Yet, even the challenges related to that have had some positive outcomes for me. But I am very proud to have kept my blog going for more than a whole year now and even prouder to say that my list of followers is growing slowly but surely. I have always maintained that I write this blog for me as much as anyone else, but the feedback I have received thus year has been incredible.
And looking ahead to 2012…world ending or not…I have high hopes for many new and exciting adventures! So stick around and keep reading if you want to know what I get up to!!!
So from a very hot Santiago, I wish you all a very happy, prosperous and loving 2012, wherever you are in the world!!!