by Gabriela Contreras
Traditions are important in many families. The Latino traditions that my family carries out as we celebrate the arrival of the New Year are ones of travel, hope and renewal:
- Washing and sweeping the steps of your front door symbolizes the releasing of the old and making a pathway for the new that is to come.
- Packing a suitcase and exiting and re-entering your home 12 times symbolizes safe travels and the wish to travel more in the coming year.
- Eating 12 grapes, one for each month, while making twelve wishes in the hope that they will come true.
But as I look forward to the New Year and the hopes for new possibilities of what this new year is to bring, I can’t help but think about those unexpected, unplanned and unwished for events that took place in my family life in 2010:
- divorce of a family member
- a family member’s custody battle
- the loss of a loved one
And yet, through it all I am comforted by those joyous occasions:
- the oath ceremony of my husband’s new U.S. citizenship
- my daughter’s graduation and easy transition into high-school
- a promotion
- family coming together in the midst of a tragic loss
- the birth of a child
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
As we celebrate the New Year, my wish for you is that your joyous celebrations be plentiful and that God’s steadfast love and grace be upon you during your difficult times. Trust that God will lead you through the shadow of darkness and into the light of the Holy Spirit.
Happy New Year!
What traditions did you honor as you brought in the New Year? What do they symbolize?