Photo: Fireworks light up the sky over Barquisimeto, Venezuela. Inti/Flickr
There is something mystical about the new year celebration. It somehow gives us a clean start, a chance to reflect on those behaviors that are keeping us from happiness and change them—or at least give it a try.
In Venezuela, we take this celebration very seriously, maybe because of the idea that any future time would be better than our present time. Preparation starts by buying new clothes, which according to tradition brings good luck. On the night of New Year’s Eve, everything is ready for when the clock strikes midnight, so everyone has a glass of champagne with 12 grapes that must be eaten one by one while making wishes, yellow underwear put backwards for them to be fixed when the new year begins, and pieces of luggage by the door. All of these traditions are meant to bring prosperity, love, and, in general, a good and happy year.
Photo: At the stroke of midnight, 12 grapes are eaten and drank with champagne while making wishes for the new year. Maria Gabriela Hernandez Cunto
My favorite tradition is carrying the luggage up and down the streets. We do that in order to symbolize the trips we would take during the year. I like this one because it has always worked very well.
All these traditional activities might take a lot of time to complete, but they are accompanied by the hundreds of fireworks flying from almost every house and building in the city. That night, we are not concerned about fire hazards. The view is impressive with all the bright colors up in the sky. It is the true vision of hope, the longing for an amazing year to come.
Maria Gabriela Hernandez Cunto for Vox Orbis, 2015