One of the things I love about New Year’s in Bogotá is how creative, happy, and quirky locals become. There’s just something in the atmosphere that makes things highly interesting during the festivities. And speaking of that, agüeros are the perfect example of what I’m talking about. Want to find out why? Keep reading and you’ll see!
Agüeros are definitely a special part of New Year’s Eve in Bogotá, and in Colombia too. Many people believe they are just myths, but probably every person in this country has a few. Agüeros are unique, and often quite strange, Colombian version of superstitions or omens. And while the tradition of doing a list of resolutions for the new year is universally known, here people use agüeros believing they could be more effective towards the achievement of a dream or a goal. Agüeros are supposed to bring luck and make things happen, but they also bring joy, and most importantly, they are part of who we are as a culture.
A little bit more about why we use agüeros
It is no surprise that a country like Colombia, with its magical realism and its mystical land, has agüeros as part of its New Year’s Eve traditions. And like all superstitions or omens, some people take them very seriously, but there’s no denying that they also bring an element of mystique and magic to our culture. What is a surprise though (and very interesting as well) is that as a traditionally Catholic country, there are actually a lot of people in Colombia who believe in these kinds of things, which supposedly have nothing to do with faith or religion.
Agüeros are supposed to make whatever you want to happen in the new year, happen. They can also bring good or bad luck. However, the agüeros of New Year’s Eve are usually done at midnight to bring good luck and favorable future events. People do them depending on what they want, whether it’s peace, love, happiness, travels, work, money, etc. Agüeros can be the simplest tasks, but while some are very funny, others can be quite strange and quirky.
So, are you spending the New Year’s Eve in Bogotá?
Here are my top five agüeros you need to adopt to have the best year:
1. Yellow or red underwear:
The classic of the classics! Do you want good luck and love in the new year? Then wear yellow or red underwear on New Year’s Eve. It is said that it works better if they have never been worn before and if you wear them inside out until the new year arrives when you must turn them back the right way. Nothing sexier to start the year!
2. The suitcase walk:
Another classic for wanderers and people who love traveling! Do you really want to to go on that safari next year? Then just grab your suitcase or backpack at midnight and walk or run around the block a few times. Nothing better to get some good luck for travel! You’ll probably look a little bit stupid, but it’s good for a laugh too.
3. Pockets of lentils:
This agüero is said to have originated in old Europe centuries ago. If you want good luck and money (who doesn’t?) in the new year, you don’t even have to eat the lentils, just put a handful in your pocket instead. It’s funny to walk around having these legumes in your pocket, but hey, it’s worth a try!
4. Twelve grapes and twelve wishes:
Not three, twelve! One for each month of the year. Head to the supermarket (read our article Bogotá’s Five Most Popular Supermarkets & Grocery Stores) to buy some good, delicious grapes and have them ready at midnight. Then, all you need to do is to eat twelve and make a wish for each one, which means you have to have them ready by that moment. Make sure they are good wishes! They might come true after all…
5. Three potatoes:
This is one of the strangest agüeros, and you’ll probably look damn crazy doing it, but it’s fun! Take three potatoes (one peeled, the other half peeled, and the last one just as it is) and put them under your pillow and when midnight comes, randomly choose one. If you take the peeled potato, then you’ll have money problems; the half-peeled one means money will be okay, and the normal one means you’ll have lots of money in the year ahead. Seems to be easier than the lottery, so it’s worth a try and a good laugh!
I don’t think there’s anything more fun than agüeros on New Year’s Eve, just like aguinaldos (read my article Christmas Traditions in Bogotá: Aguinaldos to know more). I recommend choosing an agüero that suits what you want the New Year to bring you. You can try them all, but it would get complicated. Just like any other tradition we have in Colombia, agüeros are a celebration of our vibrant culture. So when coming to Bogotá for New Year’s Eve, don’t forget to try a few. After all, they will be a wonderful experience to remember and share!
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