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Ringing in the New Year

For my husband’s family, New Year’s is generally a family event. We all get together for enormous quantities of food, drink, music and talk. Children run wild, “comadres chismean” (ladies gossip), the men play poker and we all drink and are merry until the clock strikes midnight, at which point we eat 12 grapes so that our 12 wishes for the New Year will materialize.

This year is different. This year we did anything but the traditional familial gathering. We went to Playa del Carmen to stay with my “cuñado” (brother-in-law). An apartment that may cost 1000 pesos in other parts of the Republic, like in Xalapa for example, will cost around 4500 pesos in Playa. So my husband, his daughter, our baby, my “suegra” (mother-in-law), my “cuñado” and his partner all settled into inflatable mattresses in a one-room apartment to ring in the New Year.

Traditionally, families sit down to dinner at midnight, although they start celebrating sometime in the afternoon. This time we made it until 9 and then gathered up our 12 grapes to head out to “La quinta avenida” (Fifth Avenue).

I must say, all seemed eerily calm, until, that is, we made it to the hot spots where foreigners from all over the globe were congregated, drinking, dancing and partying the year away. Here, playing tourist for the evening, we ate our twelve grapes and chimed in to the shouts of “Happy New Year!” and “¡Feliz Año Nuevo!”