Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Eve

I haven't been a big fan of New Year's for some time now- it always seems to end up being less than it could be, with people getting too drunk and expectations out of control, often ending up in vomit and/or tears, or for my part a general sense of let-down.

Here in Brazil they take their parties seriously, as well as their drinking, so I imagine they have an element of the New Year's Eve I was used to, but there are other aspects as well. For instance, it is tradition for everyone to wear white, so we got dressed up in as much white as we could (except for Lucas, the two year old, who is very insistent about what he wants to wear, and burst into tears when we tried to dissuade him from his new green penguin shirt). The clothes came after the banho de folias, which is a tradition in the Candomblé, the Yoruban-based religion practiced here. It is a ritual cleansing, a bath of herbs that one pours over oneself. A fine tradition for a new year. Then we met up with my English friends, my best english speaking friends here in Salvador. We all walked down to the beach, to meet other friends of theirs who were making offerings to Iemanjá, the Orixa of the ocean. They placed a large clay urn filled with flowers and I don't know what else into the surf, holes were dug in the sand and candles placed in them.

For our part, we took off our shoes and let the surf lap at our feet, all of us exept Ruan, who tried to outrun the waves and tripped and got himself completely drenched, including his brand new Nike Airs that I brought back from the States for him. That's alright, if anyone needs Iemanjá's blessing it's him. He also got a bit too enthusiastic with the champagne at midnight, got real goofy and complained of 'dizziness.' Ten years old- I guess a few swallows can have that effect.

My wife Evani came into the room as I was working on this. She is disappointed that we have passed the day in the house, apparently we should be out drinking with family somewhere. Everyone here is sleeping, the kids, our two house guests, even she just woke up. Me personally, I'm fine with kicking around the house- it's part of who I am, and I don't particularly feel the need to spend another day drinking. I need to get some work done, which is what I'm going to do right now.

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