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Post Christmas Traditions in Colombia

If you want to get lucky in Colombia, then according to custom it is time to break out the yellow underwear ! This is just one of the many interesting Post Christmas Traditions in Colombia.

Somehow it seems that with the change from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar, April Fools is celebrated in Colombia on December 28.  This is the Day of the Holy Innocents – “EL Dia de los Santos Inocentes”.  King Herod, fearing the power of the newborn Jesus, murdered hundreds of children and this date was established is to commemorate their deaths. For many Colombians, however this is a day full of jokes, mischief and trickery. Somehow there seems to be a disconnect with the two concepts.

During the Middle Ages as the Church was faced with attempting to reign in various pagan beliefs. They were confronted with a wild and outrageous festival held between Christmas and New Years called the Feast of the Fools. This event was so ‘over the top” that the Church decreed that it would be held on the Day of the Holy Innocents in an effort to tone down the festivities. As a result, December 28, while a serious holy date, is in fact a day much like April Fools’ Day.

On December 31 as you drive through the countryside you will encounter all types of straw or rag filled figures lining the highways and byways. They are in all shapes and sizes and even in the forms of some of your least favourite politicians. These dolls are called ”Año Viejo” and they can be found throughout the cities and the country.  Wouldn’t you just love to stuff your overblown politician with fireworks and ignite them at midnight. Show them out with the old year and toast in the new year.

The stroke of midnight brings ”Shock and Awe” to the Colombian landscape. The quantity of fireworks is more than impressionable and it is entirely impossible to usher in the new year in a quiet fashion. This cacophony will last until 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. and commence again once the revellers shake off their drunken stupor.

As the countdown begins here are some of the ingredients that you need for the ”agueros” or traditions to bring good fortune in the upcoming year.

Ingredients :

  • Bucket of water
  • A leaf of aloe
  • Champagne
  • Cinnamon in powder
  • Essence of Vanilla
  • Fresh Bread
  • Glass of Milk
  • Lentils,
  • Rice
  • Sea Salt
  • Wheat
  • Three laurel leaves
  • Three potatoes
  • 12 grapes – but no partridge in the pear tree
  • A chair
  • A member of the opposite sex
  • A new mop
  • A white candle
  • An empty suitcase
  • Gold Jewellery
  • New clothes
  • Yellow or red underwear

While it may seems like we are preparing for perhaps a somewhat kinky New Year’s Eve dinner – ”La cena de Nochevieja”, these are in facts items that you need if you want to bring in the  New Year with love, health, wealth and good energies !     Let’s start from the bottom up.

Preparation for the big night.

The underwear instructions are to put on your yellow underwear – backwards or upside down, depending on the translation.

Make certain that you are wearing new clothes. This is to ensure that you will continue to look good all year.

Fill your pockets with lentils or rice so you won’t lack for money through the new year.

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If you want to change jobs, put 3 Laurel leaves in your shoe and burn them in the new year.

Place some money and wheat on a table so that you will always have food and money on the table.

Make a mixture of essence of Vanilla and Cinnamon and wash your hands before midnight if you want to attract money.

Turn on all of the lights before midnight if you want to attract good energy.

If you want to keep money in your possession, then sit on a wad of bills so that the money does not slip out of your hands.

For success be holding a 50.000 COP bill in your hand when the clock strikes twelve.

To attract gold, burn frankincense and myrrh as these were two of the gifts that the Magi brought with them, the third being gold.


At the stroke of midnight  you are to perform the following feats. Editor’s warning – it is dangerous and perhaps embarrassing to try all of these at once.

At midnight you take off  your underwear and put them on normally. This is to bring you prosperity and good luck (hmmm – I suppose this depends on what company you are keeping as well). If you wear read underwear this is said to attract love and romance – so far so good !!

If you wish to get pregnant, drink a glass of milk at midnight and imagine whether you want a boy, girl or twins……(warning combining milk and red underwear could be a potent mix !)

If you want to have good luck for the whole year then have a bath in Champagne at midnight without drying off. (Now we are in real trouble !)

If you want to find new love, embrace the first woman of the opposite sex that you see at the stroke of midnight. (Don’t slip in the tub !)

You are to eat 12 grapes and make 12 wishes.  Each grape represents one month of the year.

Stand on a chair and let all of the bad vibes and events pass underneath you.

While on the chair wish your first  Happy New Year to a member of the opposite sex so that they will have success with their love relationships.

To attract money ask 3 different individuals for a coin or drink champagne from a cup to which you have added some gold jewelry.

At midnight, place your new mop and fresh bread together like boyfriend and girlfriend and within a year you will have your wish.

If you wish to have a year full of travel, then at midnight you must run around the block with an empty suitcase.


Post Party Tasks

If you want to recover a former lover or would like a new relationship, take a framed photo, wrap it with a red ribbon and put it under your pillow.

Put three stones under your pillow (be careful of the photo) . These represent health, love and money. Be prepared to give one stone away if you don’t receive all three wishes.

Place 3 potatoes under your bed. One potato will have its skin, one is half peeled and the other is fully peeled. The next step is suppose to happen at midnight but who is going to be looking under the bed at 12 a.m. 0 unless you have just come from your Champagne bath.  Reach under your be without looking and grab a potato. If you get the unpeeled potato you are suppose to have a financially successful year. If you pull the half peeled potato then your year will be fine. If you get the peeled potato – look out ! This divination can also be performed with the 2 potatoes and a paper bag.


Saumerios or Cleansing Traditions for the New Year

Not only do the Colombians have the ”agueros”, they have cleansing traditions called ”saumerios”.

Burn a white candle to attract harmony to your home. A blue candle can be used for peace and a red candle for love.

If you had a difficult year, then on New Year’s Eve sweep out your troubles and bad vibes out the door.

Throw a glass or bucket of water out the door, ridding yourself of all of the sororw and tears from the previous year.

To remove bad energies from your home or office or to keep them out, hang an Aloe leaf at your door.

Another for remove bad energies is ring a bell in your home at midnight.

Put branches in your home as symbols of good luck and also to protect your home – (January 1)

Bath in a clear river.

Place sea salt in all corners of the house and later all members of the family mush bathe with sea salt from the neck down.

Take a bath of seven herbs: Altamisa,  Chamomille, Hemlock,  Laurel, Myrtle, Rue and Walnut while reciting optimistic prayers of protection.

While the New Year, literally rung in, all your wishes and desires begun and your body, soul and home cleansed there is still one last event  of the Christmas Season.
January 6th, ”Día de los Reyes Mago” or the Day of the Three Kings is an official holiday in Colombia that marks the end of the Christmas season. in other parts of Latin America it was often that date that the Christmas gifts are given to mark the arrival of the gift bearing Magi for the birth of Christ. In Colombia, the day does not bear a great significance each family celebrates it or ignores it in their own way.





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