LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Check the color of your underwear this New Year’s Eve. Maybe eat grapes. Or lentils. It’s all tied to good luck and superstition.
Here are 10 New Year’s Eve practices:
- Red underwear: In Italy, red undergarments are worn on the last day of the year to espouse love and good fortune. There’s also the belief of fertility, so be careful. Some Latin cultures push the same benefits in the wearing of yellow undergarments.
- Champagne toast: According to many sources, the history of a wine toast to ring in a new year dates to ancient Rome. But Imbibe Magazine says the idea in America traces to the early 1900s and the Cafe Martin, a hoity-toity New York restaurant. The owners, two French brothers, had an abundance of champagne from France, so it was a natural way to push merchandise. It became an accepted practice in 1937, the magazine says. The toast is a way to welcome hope.
- Grapes: Spanish tradition is to eat 12 grapes — no more, no less — to signify good luck for each month of the New Year. The idea is to eat them during the countdown. Superstition calls for green grapes, by the way. In Italian cultures, grapes often are part of desert plates, because the grape brings good luck.
- Lentils: Sources indicate the tradition dates to ancient Rome, when a leather purse filled with lentils was a common gift. The giver hoped the lentils would turn into gold coins. Italian tradition suggest eating lentils after midnight. Because they swell when cooked lentils symbolize abundance.
- Fish: Commonly served on the night of the last day of the year. Swimming forward signifies progress, and their scales shine like silver, so figure on wealth and good fortune. Germans were known to put fish scales in their wallets for good luck.
- Don’t eat … bottom-dwelling seafood or fish. The idea is that you could become a bottom-feeder, too. So, no catfish. Also frowned upon is eating crab or lobster. For some reason, it’s bad luck because these creatures move sideways.
- Collard greens: There’s conjecture because of the color, the greens resemble paper money and are a metaphor for wealth. Eating them to ring in the New Year could bring riches, the theory goes.
- Make noise: So many cultures feature noisemakers, right? The idea is to drive out evil spirits. In Denmark, there is breaking plates and dishes. In Japan, there is ringing a bell to suppress what is thought to be 108 worldly desires. And what’s the most common noise associated with New Year’s Eve? Fireworks, of course. Loud and bright. So, begone evil spirits.
- Scrub-a-dub: Get out the disinfectant and dust rags. Cleaning rids the household of negativity, according to some Latin and Chinese cultures.
- And, the best for last … Kissing at midnight: From English and German folklore, largely, the practice is believed to symbolize a happy and joyous way to begin a New Year. Pucker up.
Sources: The New York Times, easymilano.com, rd.com, mashed.com, countryliving.com, southernliving.com, oprahdaily.com, selectitaly.com.