Culture

Looking Ahead to the Year of the Horse while Dusting and Eating Grapes at Midnight: Happy New Year

Quick. There are about 14 hours or less for many of you to complete some of those resolutions you made back in January 2013.  Not going to happen? Put your sneakers on! Run a lap and clear your head. Don’t sweat it. Life goes on. Tomorrow is a new day, month and year. While you shouldn’t sweat it, the year that was 2013 was an interesting one, and it may be good to take stock of those goals that were left on the table. Take stock, not to lament, but to think about whether those goals from a year ago had been realistic and achievable. God, I sound like a grant writer.  Ah, screw it; I’m looking ahead and not backwards.

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2014 is the Year of the Horse. In some websites I have read that it is specifically the year of the green horse; others have said wood horse.  Anyway, it’s not like you can believe everything you read and see on the web-that’s what some morning newscasters said early December 31. But let’s go back to the year of the horse thing.  Could that be why incoming NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is pronouncing that he will act immediately outlaw the horse-drawn carriages that pull tourists around Central Park? I truly appreciate his concern for animals. Oftentimes, those horses do look quite unhappy and past accidents have broken my heart. But as a populist-labeled politician that ran to address poverty and the grand income gap in NYC, it’s strange that horse-drawn carriages are the first thing on his mind. But I get it now, realizing it is the year of the horse. It is very smart of him to cover all his bases in trying to get off on the right foot, including even the zodiac.

In the Chinese zodiac, the year of the horse is considered a fortunate year that brings luck and good tidings. Let’s consider the horse for a moment. A horse is majestic in its own stoic but willy ways. It is an animal of grand beauty and spirit.  It can travel far and wide and can bring you along for a grand ride. As such, the year of the horse is one in which one can be spontaneous and act quickly on decisions. It can be a time to take a leap of faith. One’s instincts will get further refined throughout the year. One word of caution, if you were born in the year of the rat (like I was), there may be some synergism issues since the rat is a ponderer and likes to plan. But many a rat have taken leaps of faith as well. To me this all signals that 2014 will be a time to redirect one’s energies and find try several life paths. It will also be a time to travel far and wide mentally and physically.

 
In order to hit 2014 running, it has to start right tonight.  I recommend three steps, that have been put into my long-standing consciousness as a Hispanic woman: 1) eat twelve grapes at midnight, 2) wear bright underwear, and 3) clean the house.  First off, in Spain there is the tradition of eating 12 grapes for 12 months of good luck in the coming year.  Sounds easy, right? Here’s the catch. You have to start eating the grapes when the clock strikes midnight, then eat one for each ring of the bell or toll of the clock. When I lived in Spain, I gave it a try and nearly choked.  Make sure you get seedless grapes that are very tiny. For some reason the red ones went down faster for me.  Second, you must have at least one bright pair of underwear tucked away somewhere, right? In certain Latin American countries, and in particular Brazil (no surprise there), it’s believed the color of your underwear will have a guiding influence on the upcoming new year. Red and yellow, by representing love and money respectively, are the most popular colors to don.  If you are not just set on money and love, wear white for it will bring peace or wear green for general good health. You could just wear a rainbow and cover all bases that way. Third, dust and get dust some more your house. My mom, who was a highly superstitious Puerto Rican woman, believed mightily in the power of cleaning on New Year’s eve. Makes sense actually. You don’t want to carry baggage and bad will into the New Year. Clean and let your mind, anger, rage and sadness go.  Chileans also believe that one should sweep the home in order to remove bad energy. There you have it! Go forth and eat, clean and be brightly-colored.

In the next few hours you may indeed want to consider what goals were left on the table this past year. However, look ahead to the year of the horse. Take some leaps of faith but employ some safeguards such as eating grapes.

Happy new year everybody! May 2014 bring grand adventures as wild as the spirit horse.

12 replies »

      • You will have to thank WordPress for helping me find you. They sent me an email giving me my 2013 stats on my Website and had a great section on finding other wordpress sites. Not sure if you have used but they have a site called Freshly Pressed that you can keep track of all wordpress sites followed. Great site to make it easier to keep track of interesting sites. Have a great new year!

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  1. I’ve looked a bit at Tibetan astrology, which further differentiates the 12 animals into 5 elemental classes (wood, fire, earth, iron, and water). This means your true birth year does not come around again until you are 60 ( http://www.tactus.dk/tacom/ ). Beyond that I know little about Chinese or Tibetan astrology, except that the rat is regarded as the wisest of animals, because the rat was the first of the animals to come to the Buddha’s bed as he lay dying.

    Have a Happy New Year, be careful of with those grapes!

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  2. In Italy, in addition to the grapes, we shovel down lentils. Those are supposed to bring lots of money. We’ve been eating them all week. Will let you know if it works…

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