|Jacinta Lluch [CC-BY-SA-2.0|
via Wikimedia Commons
Specifically, I refer to Portuguese superstitions regarding New Year's Eve—though I don't remember my parents, aunts, uncles, or cousins doing anything more on said evening than getting stinking drunk (as is right and proper). But in recent years, my Mom's trotted out a few choice bits of magical thinking. For example, there's the twelve green grapes at midnight business: these must be consumed within the first minute of the new year, so as to ascertain good luck for each of the twelve coming months. Now, I coulda sworn I told her about this, having learned it from my former, Puerto Rican, in-laws, but Mom acts like it's old hat, now. Yeah, whatevs.
That one's pretty tame, and probably not unknown to most of y'all. But the onion unveiled a layer of the surreal the year my Mom gave me a small parcel on a December 30. Doubtingly, I took the thing from her and opened it. I blinked at what lay in the wrapping paper, then at my mother.
"Underwear?" I asked, uncomprehending.
"Red underwear," she replied with a broad, loony smile."Make sure you wear it New Year's Eve."
"It's for luck."
My left eyebrow quirked up of its own accord. "What kind of luck?"
Her crazed grin broadened, not unlike the grins of the folks in the video for Soundgarden's Black Hole Sun. "Who knows?" she said. And then she buggered off before I could demand further explanation.
This conversation haunted me, so much so that I had to track my sister, Star, down online and beg her to help me figure this shizz out. I don't remember all the particulars of that long online chat, but I can't forget when stunned realization compelled me to type out the words,
You mean...Mom wants me to get laid?!!??!?!?!?
I think Star and I settled on the fact that, as red symbolizes love, our mother simply wished me to enjoy some happiness in that department. I mean, it's not like she's ever been a romantic (like, not EVER), or thinks men are good for much of anything except making babies (sorry, folks, but it's not what I think, but what she thinks). Mom's, like, super Old Country Catholic and never encouraged us to date or anything even close to it. So the idea of my mother wanting me to get lucky, sort of blew me away. (Which isn't to say I didn't wear the hell out of those underpants that New Year's Eve, for all the good that did me.)
Y'all ever hear about anything even remotely like that? If not that, then what kooky New Year's Eve superstitions did you grow up with? (I'm particularly interested in something that'll help me get lucky, so feel free to share in the comments.) (Please, for the love of all that's holy; Goth Mom Lite's feeling that Urge To Merge!) (Ahem.)
Edited to add: Well, well, well...my Mom is vindicated!