i Editor's Letter: Don't forget your red knickers


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The Independent Online


As I can't stand whisky, can't use coal and can never forget the image of the Queen linking arms frostily with Tony Blair at the (then) Dome to sing "Auld Lang Syne", I think I prefer the Welsh Calennig traditions to the Scottish Hogmanay. It's a bit much these days to expect money, so bread and cheese gifts will do. Typically, booze features more highly than food in the British Isles' traditions – with the rather dubious exception of haggis.

Around the world, there are exquisite feasts served up on New Year's Eve, although the foie gras and oysters of France and the borek and baklava of Turkey appeal more than the boiled cod and stewed kale of Denmark (yum?).

In Italy, it's beautiful spiced sausage and lentils, a pulse that features in many traditions – as do grapes. I think I prefer eating one grape per chime of the clock to 12 spoonfuls of lentils. Looking for love in 2012? Then wear red underwear – men as well as women (clearly a Latin tradition then!), but you have to throw the pants away the next day. Italians also throw something out of a window on New Year's Day – preferably not the unwanted television, unless you are a rock star. It's yellow knickers if you want happiness, and making a toast with a large denomination bill for wealth. The Mexican idea of making a list of the bad things that happened last year and then throwing it into the fire is one we should all adopt.

And with that I am off for a week or so for a little break in the sun. The by-now familiar Victoria Summerley will be filling this slot. Happy New Year to all i readers. And don't forget your red knickers.