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Monday, December 31, 2012

Dead Birds and Broken TV Sets.

        The presents unwrapped, the tree looking a bit worse for wear, Santa's Reindeer relaxing hopefully in a hot tub to soothe their aches and pains from their long flight.  It's now time for that time honored yearly pilgramage to my friends house to celebrate the new year.  

Every year (save last one), she gathers a bunch of her friends over at her place, where we eat, drink, and are merry.  We celebrate in Rio de Janeiro style, albeit a bit different.  You see, down there in Rio, they have an ocean.  So the tradition is to show up to the Copacabana Beach, where they make offerings to the goddess Lemangja/Yemanje  

Some bring wooden boats with gifts for her, usually beauty products and nice soaps are included, to give thanks for a blessing or a wish granted in the past year. Flowers are often sent out to sea as well as gifts for the goddess.  Those who did not bring flowers, street vendors are availalbe to help.  After the stroke of midnight on New Years Day, the people rush to the waters edge, where an unusual spectacle unfolds.

They go out into the sea, skipping over seven waves wishing for good fortune and happiness in the coming new year, making a wish with each skip.  They don't turn their backs on the sea, as it might anger the goddess.  

The tradition is to wear all white clothes to symbolize peace and renewal.  Other colors that might be worn are; red for romance, yellow for success, and green for health.   But do not wear black, you would be doomed with very bad luck for the coming year!

The above traditions were brought over to Brazil by African slaves in the 1500's.  They are from a religion called Candomble.  The mixture of these cultures have been named "Reveillon."  (A French word.)  Though this is also called "Ano Novo," which is the second largest celebration after Carnivale.

For those who like quieter fare, a meal at home is another option.  The first few minutes of the New Year, people avoid eating poultry.  Because when poultry feed, they  scratch their feet backwards.  So because of this, the belief is that when you eat poultry, you will not move forward but backwards in life.  Many eat pork to get around this restriction.

There are other rituals that are designed to help achieve something specific.  For example, if you want more money; all you have to do is jump on the right foot, so that you start out the year (right) with money.  For love matters, greeting a member of the opposite sex right after midnight, promises to bring luck in dating.  If the previous year was not particularly good for you... jump three times holding a glass of champagne, then toss the contents over your shoulder, to erase the bad of the past year.  However, you should consult your host first before trying this one. 

So how do we celebrate Rio style in Columbus Ohio.  Nope, definitley NOT in one of the local rivers (Olentangy or Scioto).  They would be iced over or very cold.  We celebrate by putting our wishes for the new year on paper airplanes, then at 9:00 p.m. (which is midnight Rio time).  We then gather on the sidewalk in front of my friends house, do the "Ohio State Wave," seven times, then release the planes to the fickle winds of Glen Echo Ravine.

So that about wraps up my "traditional" New Years Eve celebrations.  Oh, why the title of this blog?  What does it have to do with celebrating new years in Rio?  Well, I did a search on "How do they celebrate New Years in Rio?" and this is one of the options that my Google search yielded. Why?  I'm clue-less!  So how do you celebrate your New Years Eve?