The first date of the Georgian calendar, i.e. January 1, is observed as the day of New Year in the South American nation of Paraguay. It is also called as Ano Viejo, which states for a festival full of celebration and entertainment.
On New Years Eve, Paraguay has elaborate celebrations, both at the community stage as well as in private. People do make sure to bid their goodbye to the Old Year, and bow a welcome to the New Year in a grand fashion, and in the cult Paraguayan style.
Celebrations on New Years Eve in Paraguay
New Years Eve, i.e. on December 31st of the Old Year, Paraguay and people in Paraguay have enthusiastic celebrations. Most of these celebrations are very much on the same line of Christmas celebrations. Just like in the Christmas celebrations, a special feast is organized for the evening (and if not, then a special dinner), and people are invited to gather at a place. There is abundance of food to eat and to choose from.
After having their feast in the late evening hours, people stand up at the stroke of midnight to wish one another with good luck wishes and wishes of ‘Felicidades’ or ‘Happy New Year’. People usually do that by kissing one another. By the time, that moment of New Year arrives, many of the people are in deep drunken state as a result of consumption of too much of alcohol.
After that, people, in particularly the young people, head to the local discotheques, night clubs, or bars for further celebrations. This is a celebration time dedicated to friends and community. On New Years Eve, most of the clubs and bars are booked well in advance, and one can sense the same from the throng of people coming in to party after the midnight. The great food and liquor served by them, along with some energetic music usually played live by the performers, everyone seems to be happy and cheerful while cultivating their time on New Years Eve.
The outdoor celebrations organized on streets and famous places of Paraguay always remain on the top of the perseverance list of the people. The street party culture emerged in the mid-nineties, and then grew up gradually to get bigger and bigger with each passing year. Thousands of people make sure to be a part of these street celebrations, and in a way to be a part of the true spirit of New Years Eve. In fact, people prefer them over the in-house parties.
As a part of preparations for them, most of the streets and community buildings are illuminated with fancy lights, and are decorated with attractive and glittering material. Usually, these decorations and illuminations remain steady on their places for an adequate time, even after the departure of the New Year time. This probably is considered to be a result of the influence of the old Julian calendar.
Tradition on New Years Eve in Paraguay
There is a New Years Eve tradition observed in Paraguay, which is much on the lines of the Santa Claus tradition of Christmas. As a part of it, ‘Deda Marz’ or the Grandpa Frost makes a visit to house on or after the midnight time on New Years Eve, and leaves presents and gifts for everyone under the tree of the house. Later, they are discovered and unpacked by the people of the house in the morning of the New Year Day.
There are several other New Year traditions in Paraguay, which are quite reflective of the South American traditions. One of them is creating a life size effigy. This effigy is decorated with old newspapers, and is laden with firecrackers. It is so prepared that it looks like a scarecrow, which is traditionally believed to be a representation of evil things. At the stroke of the midnight, the effigy is burnt by the family with a belief that it will sway away all evils of life, and will bring auspiciousness in the house and lives of the people living in it. While doing so, people cheer, dance, and celebrate the time.
Another tradition call for keeping all doors, windows, and cupboards open on New Years Eve. Also, people make loud noises by whistling, cheering, and beating drums, pots, and pans. Also, they burn firecrackers. It is believed that loud noises sway all evil energies and negativities out and away. Keeping doors, windows, and cupboards open is for the purpose of allowing them a way to get out.