I was recalling my time as a designer/sketcher for La Mendola in Rome, many moons ago. In particular some of the festive traditions surrounding Christmas and New Years Eve. A very vivid memory was one of New Year's eve, dodging pots, pans, clothes, kitchen appliances and three-piece suites (You name it!) that littered the streets and were making their way out of apartment windows. This symbolises the letting go and banishing of the bad past...though it seemed to me that everyone had saved up their unwanted junk just for this occasion, ready for the municipal trucks to haul it away.
One that really sticks in my mind is the well-known tradition of wearing Red underwear to ring in the New Year. It's a well-known custom in Italy (and also adopted in Spain too) Apart from the idea that Red is a colour associated with luck, there is also a legend about the tradition dating back to Medieval times. A story told that men would drape their nether-regions with red cloth, to protect themselves from mischievous Witches, who may be out on New Years eve and up to no good (Apparently???) I am not sure if this legend also applies to the Spanish tradition, but I am certain the general premise is about good luck for the New Year.
In South America, a similar superstition exists, particularly in Peru. Yellow is the colour associated with luck and so not only wearing yellow pants but also to wear them inside-out for New Year's eve, promises a prosperous year. Also filling your pockets with lentils and cinnamon???....it's quite a lot to think about if you're going out for a night on the town!
I thought it's a rather funny fixation of luck being assciated with your pants. I did a little research and discovered many European superstitions of the past, all evolving from underwear...
Sleep with a bra under your pillow: That is if you want to meet the man of your dreams, in your dreams!
No Underwear on your wedding day: A rather risque and wholly impractical notion. In the 1920's it was believed that if a Bride to be wanted a Happy Marriage, she should attend her wedding service without wearing underwear. It symbolised wholeness and appeasement to the gods of love, who would in exchange give joy and happiness to the couple. Can you imagine the wedding congregation all with one thought on their mind....was the bride going commando!
What ever the New Year brings, I wish everyone a happy, healthy and lucky one....regardless of the your colour and position of your pants!
A Bias View
Blog by Keturah Brown Lingerie. Heritage brand designer of exclusive lingerie for over 45 years..