January 03, 2007
Kiss & Tell
Happy New Year: Brazilian Style
To ring in the New Year I have turned to my international sisters of style to set the tone. Feeling in need of something caliente I've chosen to travel south, at least in my mind, to Rio de Janeiro. With a lineage, which has both pagan and Christian roots, the Brazilians gather at the beach each New Year's Eve to worship the goddess Lemanja, a cross between the Virgin Mary and a sexy sea goddess.
Lemanja grants good fortune to those who offer her white roses or gladioli, champagne, shiny jewelry and sweets. No problem. Those are all my favorite things. The Rio De Janeirans dress in flowing white garb and samba to the beach under the moon to place these offerings in small, blue, wooden sailboats to set afloat in the ocean. If the boat migrates out to sea the wisher's wish will be granted, and if the small offertory vessel returns to shore, "lo siento," no luck this year. Those on the beach light white candles and create sandy altars with the flowers, bling and bubbly in honor of the ocean deity.
Another of the Brazilians' beliefs to bring in good luck is to sneak away to put on a new pair of underwear just before midnight. Purists insist on red, but the reformists believe that the color of underwear will set the tone for the coming year. Pink is for love, yellow prosperity and white for peace and happiness. Then at the first strike of midnight they toast with a glass of champagne filled with 12 grapes, each representing a wish for the coming New Year. You have to wish and eat quickly as all the grapes need to be devoured by the last stroke of midnight.
This is fantastic, I think. I am loving all of these rituals to incorporate into my New Year's Eve. Instead of black, I decide on a very sexy white or at least cream (I'm from Connecticut and simply can't wear white after Labor Day) flowing dress. Believing in the "both/and" instead of "either/or" philosophy I decide that I would like hot lovin', romance, prosperity and peace for the New Year, so decide to put on white, yellow, pink and red panties all at once stopping only for a moment to realize these will show right through my cream sheath.
At the shore I have a moment's hesitation not wanting to leave my small blue boat of offerings to the fate of a December Atlantic Ocean so I wade in just a bit to deposit the boat of future bliss well beyond the breaking waves.
If no one thought anything of my excuse to duck out for a moment to buy cigarettes when I don't smoke, my reentrance to the party a bit soggy (with my multicolored underwear now really showing through) is only a bit conspicuous. I've brought a bit of sand back with me and have set up a corner of the table with white roses, candles in the sand, a necklace from an ex boyfriend I meant to throw away but buried in a baggie in the basement instead, and of course, a little bit of bubbly. I have my own glass awaiting the toll of midnight with the 12 grapes.
So now I am set. I look down at my 12 wishes noted in ink on my palm, which are now a bit blurry after my unexpected ocean plunge and start popping grapes. Then adding in the final ritual I jump three times on my right foot then throw the remains of my champagne backwards without looking, symbolizing leaving behind all things I don't need (clearly I should have thrown that jewelry instead of the champagne).
I have been assured that the site of me in a soggy, clinging, white sheath with my numerous undies showing through with chipmunk grape filled cheeks throwing champagne over my shoulder while hopping on one leg will be a New Year's memory not many of my friends will forget. For me, however, I consider myself covered for a kick ass 2007. Wishing you all the best and fine lingerie in the New Year.
You can send comments to kissandtellhb@hotmail.