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Spanish Eyes, English Words

A blended blog - Spanish life and culture meets English freelancer who often gets mistaken for Spanish senora. It's the eyes that do it, rather than the command of the language. Anything can and probably will happen here.

Lady in Red - well, red underwear anyway!
03 January 2014 @ 10:29

I love some of the Spanish New Year customs, but one I've never actually observed before is the wearing of red underwear. Although it's my favourite colour for outerwear, somehow it seems a bit racy to wear red undergarments, especially at the ripe old age of 61.

However, 2013 was such a lousy year for us as a family I decided that 2014 needed all the help it could get. All my Spanish friends - and many of my English ones - always wear red underwear throughout New Year's Eve. They have at least two sets, so that when they shower and change for the evening's celebrations, they can still be ladies in red.

So, off I went to buy my red knickers. Apparently, it doesn't need to be a full set. That was where I encountered a problem, because I've also been told you have to be given the underwear. Yet here I was, buying it for myself. I explained my concerns to the stallholder, and he said that was okay, because even though I was paying for the knickers, he was actually giving them to me. I bet he tells that to all the ladies!

I like to know why I'm doing particular things - even when it's something as mundane as wearing a certain colour of knickers - so I did some research. Evidently, the custom originated in the Middle Ages, when the Powers That Be in the Catholic Church decided that red was the colour of witchcraft, blood and the Devil - all nasty things that they didn't want associated with the church. So they banned ordinary people from wearing it for the benefit of their spiritual wellbeing.

Then as now, the Spanish didn't like being told what to do. As far as they were concerned, red was the colour of life and luck - especially during the harsh winter season. So they took to wearing red underwear which - being good Catholics - was never on display to anyone else. Thus they guaranteed their good luck in the New Year.

I was a bit sceptical about this, but on New Year's Eve, my boss sent through my payment for the writing work I'd done for her over the past week. And she included an unexpected 25 Euro seasonal bonus - I didn't see that coming, as I'd only worked for her for three months. Needless to say, I was wearing my red knickers when I received it. Maybe there's something in this after all. Perhaps I should buy the full set for next year!


Like 1


Brian said:
05 January 2014 @ 09:42

Did you manage to eat a12 grapes on the striking of the midnight bell
Happy new year and

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