Ireland – The Irish are wonderful storytellers with folktales full of magic, faeries, and love that spans the ages. It should come as no surprise that one Irish New Year’s tradition is steeped in the Druid custom of giving a gift of mistletoe twigs.
The Druids believed mistletoe to be sacred and considered a magic source of fertility that would yield a fruitful year of children and crops.
On New Year’s Eve, girls in Ireland will often sleep with a spring of holly, ivy, or mistletoe under their pillow. Just before sleeping, the girls will chant, “oh ivy green and holly red, tell me, tell me whom I shall wed.” While they sleep, they are to dream of their future husband.
Brazil – The celebration for Ano Novo (‘New Year’ in Portuguese) is called Réveillon by the locals and considered a major holiday in Brazil. It marks the beginning of summer holidays. Rio de Janeiro puts on one of the best fireworks displays in the world for this party.
Millions of people will descend on the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema and light candles to float them on little boats as an offering to Iemanja, the goddess of the sea.
Traditionally Brazilians will wear all white, which is supposed to bring good luck and is symbolic of peace and harmony. However, you can change the color of your undergarments to represent a different desire.
Besides white, here are what some of the other colors mean: pink is love, red is passion, yellow is wealth, green is for health and hope, blue is power and action, silver means new things, etc. The tradition supposedly is based in Candombe (Afro-Brazillian) religious beliefs that colors attract energy. Which color will you wear in the new year?
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