San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Ensure The New Year!

THE following traditional Costa Rican rituals and myths should bring you nothing but luck in 2005 as long as you don t break a leg trying to do them all at once. If 2004 was less than successful, go for a swim or take a bath as the clock strikes midnight to wash away all your bad luck. If you leave the house with a packed suitcase at midnight and walk at least a block on New Year s Eve, you will enjoy a year of travel. Eat an orange at midnight, then count the seeds to work out your lucky number for 2005. ON Jan. 1, dress in something new to be smartly turned-out all year, or sport something yellow to court good luck. If you are single, wear this color on New Year s Eve to meet the love of your life in 2005. (Some believe this will work by wearing only yellow underwear.) An old custom demands you ask 13 friends for cincos (five-céntimo coins) before midnight on New Year s Eve. A little difficult now as the coins are out of circulation. Last thing at night on Dec. 31, scatter a few grains of rice in each corner of the house. On Jan. 1, take a new broom, sweep up the grains and keep them in a little bag. This will ensure there will be food in the larder all year. Alternatively, hollow out a large loaf of bread and fill it with corn, coffee beans, black beans, rice, sugar and salt. Tie a red ribbon round the parcel and hide it in a cupboard to maintain a well-fed house (and mice) for the year to come. ANOTHER superstition suggests eating 13 grapes at the stroke of midnight to put food on the table for 12 months. This must be done within a minute (but don t choke that wouldn t be lucky). Old wives claim the meteorological office needs no more scientific system to predict the weather than to note the climate on the first 12 days of January. These days are known as the pintas, because they paint (pintar) the weather for the forthcoming year, each day representing one month. If it rains on January 6, for example, you can be sure it will rain in June. ON or before Jan. 1, nab a bunch of the lavender-colored wildflower Santa Lucía from the roadside. Named after the famous patron saint of eye problems, it is claimed to help eye ailments. A vase of these flowers kept in the house on Jan. 1 will guarantee a poverty-free year, especially if you dry a sprig, wrap it in paper and keep it in your wallet. As you pick the flowers, be sure to chant the following incantation: Santa Lucía de enero, tenme todo el año con dinero. (Santa Lucía of January, keep me in money all year.) Finally, they say whatever activity you are engaged in when the clock strikes midnight will characterize your coming year. So be sure to make it fun.

Comments are closed.