OKAY!!! I'm sitting here at my desk and I smell smoke. It smells like somebody lit up a joint which I do NOT do here in Colombia. I walk out and there in the middle of the living room on a cement floor is a brazier and Beatriz is stoking it with leaves... the smoke, like incense in church readies the house for the New Year. So there's a tradition that is new to me. I wonder what else will go on???

WE're going to the Finca (country house) to bring in the New Year above Medellin.. I don't know what the customs are here. I wonder if it includes watching the ball at Times Square? Last night I explained to Beatriz that as a New Yorker living in California we got to celebrate two Midnights. Medellin is at the same Longitude as NYC so , no confusion there. Have a great holiday and a marvelous New Year Everyone!!!!

View from the Finca in Altos de las Palmas which is along the highway, hidden in the hills, which connects Medellin to the International Airport in Rio Negro.  One of the greatest parts of visiting Medellin is the wonderful vista along the highway of the city far below and the green green green countryside.

 The Nine of US..Gustavo and Aylin, Me and Beatriz..Diana and Fabio...Angela and Martin...and Niño the dog.

Remember yesterday morning I was wondering what else new would happen when celebrating New Years here in Colombia?  Well how about these customs..

Each couple gets 24 grapes, the number 12 signifying the months (or something).  They feed each other the grapes while making wishes silently or aloud.  They leave the group and are alone while doing this wishing.  Very nice.

Lots of love in this family!!!


Prepping the Grapes

Barbecue... Chorizo, Morcilla blood sausage like a stuffed derma with grain... YUMMY!!, Corn on the cob straight out, chicken en brochette, meaty marinated pork ribs, London broil, and not a drop of BARBECUE sauce anywhere to be seen...and it was all scrumptious with just a bit of salt.  
Potatoes and greens too.



Gustavo and Aylin 

Beatriz, Fabio and Martin doing great work keeping the coals going and cooking the food.

NIñO the DOG, el pobrecito suffered at the massive barbecue.  We finally gave him some meat and bones.


The man and the woman in each couple reach into a bag of dried lentils each taking several fingers full.  These are placed in a small square of cloth and the lentils are tied into a small bag.  This symbolizes fertility and /or abundance for the coming year.  Next New Year's Eve they are spread on the fields for the birds and other creatures to consume thus giving back to the earth and Mother Nature.

Each couple gets a valise and pretends to be leaving on a trip.  For two of us couples that means a honeymoon this year while generally it means that we hope to travel during the year.  Again sympathetic magic with a lovely flair.  Beatriz and I ran up the driveway and then back while photos were taken.  This was repeated by each couple.


Diana and Fabio off to who knows where but definirely somewhere this new year.

FERTILITY, Angela and Martin

Lentil Bag...Fertility and Prosperity
Aylin and Gustavo

Lots of Love!  and believe it or not, no booze!

But the strangest of all and most mysterious but meaningful involved the gift can.  A small decorated gift can as given to each couple by our hosts.  In each was a note pad, a pencil, a rag doll of a little boy and a vial of alcohol.  The couple together wrote down what they wished they had done better or differently the past year.  This was put back into the can.  They then wrote their resolutions on the remaining paper.  This was set aside.  Then the baby boy doll was doused with alcohol and set alight...

burning the bad papers as well.  The ashes were allowed to cool and then the resolutions were placed in the can. The can was sealed and will be set aside until next year when it will be opened and the resolutions read.  Accountability and some ritual magic I think.

Of course there's plenty of ritual sympathetic magic in European cultures but Colombia is heavily influenced by indigenous and Afro-Caribbean cultures as well making for a rich mix and a wonderful one.


PLaying Parcheesi in Paisaland

.22 Rifle Games

Notice My Colombia Shirt

El rey de Oscuridad, Martin Goes Army on Us

Fashionable Beatriz

Nino on Guard

Angie in Camouflage too

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