- USC Digital Folklore Archives - http://folklore.usc.edu -

Red Underwear for Good Luck

Posted By Jordan Gear On April 25, 2013 @ 5:25 pm In Rituals, festivals, holidays | Comments Disabled

Ok, so during New Years Eve we do this thing, before coming into the New Year, that everyone has to wear red underwear. And the reason why we do that is because it’s supposed to bring you good luck coming into the New Year for some reason, I don’t know. I learn about this tradition when I was about four or five? Well, mainly because my whole family does it, and, to this day, every time I, like, celebrate new years in Spain every single one in my family is still wearing red underwear during new years eve.

 

There are many different new year rituals that people around the world perform: some people drink champagne because it symbolizes wealth and the possibility of attaining it that year; some people carry a suitcase around with the hope that they will travel extensively the next year; some people run a mile just before the clock strikes twelve to ensure good health in the new year.

 

Sergio’s family tradition in Spain is rather interesting. After hearing him recount this tradition, I wondered about two things in particular: why underwear, and why the color red?

 

The color red normally symbolizes passion, love, lust. The fact that he and his family ascribe the color red to general luck is very interesting. I asked him if he meant “luck in love”, but he said no, “just overall luck”. I have always known luck to be associated with the color green.

 

When I asked Sergio why the underwear was important, he didn’t know. “I just learned it from my family, and we’ve been doing it forever.” We discussed it and came to the following conclusion: because underwear is the innermost layer of clothing and, thus, is closest to your body, it would have the greatest effect. This, of course, is pure speculation but does offer a decent hypothesis.

 

I find this tradition interesting but a bit strange. The color red throws me off. If I were to desire luck in love in the New Year then perhaps I would wear red underwear (especially since underwear covers the genitals—key players in sex). My family has the tradition of throwing money out of the house to bring wealth in the New Year. Unlike Sergio, I do not continue this practice. When I lived with my parents I occasionally partook in the tradition. Now that I am at college I no longer choose to continue the practice as I don’t find that it really works.


Article printed from USC Digital Folklore Archives: http://folklore.usc.edu

URL to article: http://folklore.usc.edu/?p=16924