Illinois legalized same-sex marriage and approved legislation to grant driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, film critic and Chicago native Rogert Ebert died, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup and health reform was implemented —these are some of the events that impacted Chicago in 2013. The death of Nelson Mandela, Nobel Peace Prize winner and South African leader, the slaughter at the Boston Marathon, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of the first Latin American pope, Pope Francisco, shocked the world.
Chicago residents say goodbye to 2013 with different festivities and with hope that next year will be better.
‘Old Year’ celebrations in Chicago
Gastón Casanova, of Argentine origin and owner of ARTango Center, tango school and restaurant, talks about the celebration taking place there: “For New Year’s Eve, we will have a dinner that includes duck, beef and vegetable empanadas, lobster bisque and other appetizers. It will be like a milonga but we’re going to have a little bit of different music for everyone to feel included, and dance and have a nice holiday, with people coming with them or people they meet here.”
Netza Roldan, a native of Xochimilco and CEO of Casa Mexico, a nonprofit that assists immigrants in their transition regarding Illinois immigration status, tells us about some traditions: “Family and friends gather, we eat the traditional 12 grapes representing each month of the year. We make a great meal: turkey, cod, romeritos, a traditional dish that is mixed with mole, cooked potatoes, cactus and dried shrimp, and we drink punch. People wear underwear, red for good health and yellow to do well moneywise. Some families dress a doll as an old man, meaning the Old Year, and another as a baby. A raffle is made and the person who wins takes the new doll to dress at the end of the year and the person has to give a tamaliza, bring several tamales, bring food, or host the party at home. “
Henry Moya, a member of Colombianos Unidos para una Labor Activa (CUPULA), an organization whose mission is to raise the name of Colombia and unite the community through social, economic and cultural activities shared some of the Colombian traditions. “We have a tradition of eating 12 grapes to ask for 12 wishes and put money or gold jewelry in our pockets for good luck. If people want to travel in the New Year, at midnight one should come out with suitcases and walk around the block. The belief is that next year the person will be traveling. We as a family split a handful of lentils and upon reaching 12, the family members will greet and eat the grapes and make wishes. “
Militza Pagan, director of the Cultural Center of Puerto Rico, said the Humboldt Park community dismisses the year with parrandas. “Between Division Street and California, groups gather and stop at each of the businesses and bring drinks or food.”
Reasons to celebrate New Year’s
“There is much to celebrate, give thanks to God that one is still alive. Next year, we should have a vision to start our own businesses and the vision to work as a community to get what we need,” said Roldan.
“We celebrate this day to continue the tradition, which is the last day to share with family and enjoy. The idea is that if one starts the New Year in a pleasant and happy way, the rest of the year will be the same way,” shared Moya.
Tito Rodríguez, Puerto Rican and director of AfriCaribe, says his family celebrates the New Year to “give thanks for everything and try to forget the differences between family members to start a new year in unity and conformity. We always say goodbye to the year, together. “
You can’t welcome 2014 without saying goodbye to the old year. Chicago receives the New Year with customs to attract financial abundance and desires of wellness with enthusiasm, hoping the events of next year are positive. There will be fireworks that accompany the traditions of the families of Chicago. That’s how the countdown to 2014 begins.
This post is also available in: Spanish