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Is wearing Coloured underwear a New Year tradition?

Wearing coloured underwear on New Year’s Eve has become a popular tradition around the world. Many people believe that the colour of their undergarments on December 31st will influence their fortunes in the coming year. But where did this tradition originate, and is there any truth to the meaning behind the different colours?

What are the origins of this tradition?

The exact origins of wearing coloured underwear on New Year’s Eve are unclear, but there are a few theories. Some say the tradition has its roots in Latin American culture and spread to other countries over time. Others trace it back to Medieval Europe, where people wore different colours as a way of celebrating various holidays and festivals throughout the year. Regardless of when and where it started, this tradition is now observed by people across many cultures worldwide.

In Latin American countries like Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia, wearing yellow or red underwear on New Year’s Eve is thought to bring luck, love, and prosperity in the coming year. Red underwear is commonly worn in Spain, Portugal, and Italy for its association with passion, romance, and fertility. White underwear is popular in Turkey and Greece, said to symbolize peace for the future. And green is thought to represent money and economic fortune in some Asian countries.

While the exact symbolism varies by region, the common thread is wearing underwear in colours considered lucky or meaningful at the start of a new year. Over time, the tradition spread globally through cultural diffusion and exposure through travel and media.

What do the different colours represent?

Here are some of the common colours and their associated meanings in this tradition:

  • Red – Love, passion, romance
  • Yellow – Luck, prosperity, success
  • Green – Money, finances, economic fortune
  • White – Peace, happiness, harmony
  • Pink – Friendship, affection, nurturing relationships
  • Black – Elegance, formality, glamour

However, interpretations vary across cultures and personal beliefs. The most important aspect is choosing a colour that resonates with what you want to attract or represent in the coming year.

When did this tradition become popular?

The superstition around coloured underwear on New Year’s Eve has been around for centuries, but it really gained popularity in the early 20th century. By the 1920s and 30s, fashion magazines and companies were promoting different coloured undergarments for luck and romance in the new year. Advertising linked the colours to fortune, fun, and magic.

Department stores capitalized on this trend by running ads telling shoppers which shades they needed for the holiday. Lingerie companies and brands released special lines of New Year’s underwear designed around the custom. Retailers continue this marketing practice today, reinforcing the tradition year after year.

So while coloured underwear on New Year’s Eve may have folkloric origins, its widespread popularity is a more modern phenomenon driven largely by commercial interests and media.

Do other New Year traditions have a similar meaning?

Yes, other New Year customs around the world also incorporate colours, gems, undergarments, or clothing to signify desires for the future. Here are a few examples:

  • In Colombia and Brazil, people wear yellow underwear to attract good fortune.
  • Filipinos wear polka dots, similar to the meaning of coloured dots in the Chinese New Year.
  • Italians wear red underwear for love and romance, and an empty wallet to prosperity.
  • Germans leave a tiny bit of nut or coal in their pockets to bring good luck or ward off bad luck respectively.
  • Panties and brassieres are thrown at the front door in Peru to help find love and fertility.
  • Circles are a common theme, like wearing rings or rounding the table, to signify coming full circle.

So using colours, clothing items, gems, and symbolic objects to usher in luck and desires for the new year appears in many cultures worldwide.

Country New Year’s Tradition Significance
Colombia Wearing yellow underwear Good luck and fortune
Brazil Wearing yellow underwear Good luck and fortune
Philippines Wearing polka dots Good fortune
Italy Wearing red underwear Love and romance
Italy Carrying an empty wallet Prosperity
Germany Nuts or coal in pocket Good or bad luck
Peru Throwing underwear at door Love and fertility

Is there scientific evidence behind this tradition?

There is no reputable scientific research that supports any tangible “luck” resulting from wearing coloured underwear or other New Year’s traditions. The notion that donning specific colours of undergarments will influence fortune, romance, or prosperity in the coming year is considered a superstition.

Human behavioural studies show that superstitious beliefs and rituals can sometimes provide comfort and a sense of control. But there is no proof that they genuinely sway outcomes or events. That said, if wearing certain hues makes someone feel more confident, hopeful, and primed for a fresh start, it can be a fun custom.

At the end of the day, any associations between colours and fortunes are purely symbolic. However, symbols can be powerful motivators. This tradition is likely to continue not because it “works,” but because it represents optimism and aspiration during a major calendar event.

Do people in other countries/cultures do this too?

Yes, wearing special coloured underwear or garments on New Year’s Eve is practiced not just in Latin America and Europe, but in many other cultures globally. Some examples include:

  • In Turkey, white underwear is thought to bring peace in the new year.
  • Red underwear is believed to attract passion and romance in countries like Spain, Portugal, and Mexico.
  • Filipinos wear dotted clothing like polka dots for prosperity.
  • Some Greeks wear red underwear to symbolize fertility.
  • In Russia, people may write desires on their underwear to manifest them.
  • Chinese wear red for luck, white for peace, and black for misfortune.
  • In India, astrologers sometimes recommend colours based on horoscopes.

While practices and meanings vary, coloured underwear remains a common cross-cultural New Year’s tradition around the world. The unifying theme is bringing in the new year aligned with hopes for the future.

What are some other end-of-year traditions?

In addition to coloured underwear, some other common global New Year’s traditions include:

  • Rounding the table – Circling a table symbolizes completing the year’s cycle.
  • Eating grapes – Grapes represent prosperity, with one grape eaten on each chime at midnight in Spain.
  • Tossing old items – Throwing out old items symbolizes removing past ills and misfortunes.
  • Opening windows – Thought to let the old year out and new year in.
  • Singing – Singing celebratory songs like “Auld Lang Syne.”
  • Wearing new clothes – Donning new garb represents renewal.
  • Exchanging gifts – Giving gifts as a gesture of affection, luck, and connection.
  • Fireworks – Fireworks ward off evil spirits and beckon good fortune.

While some practices focus on luck and superstitions more than others, common themes include out with the old and in with the new, securing health, prosperity and happiness, and celebrating light and life.

What colours will be trending this New Year’s Eve?

Fashion forecasts predict the hottest colours for underwear this New Year’s Eve include:

  • Classic red – A bold, passionate shade for love and romance.
  • Glamorous gold – Metallic hues for prosperity and success.
  • Royal blue – Darker blues for depth, confidence, and tranquility.
  • Vibrant pink – From blush to fuchsia for friendship and affection.
  • Fierce animal prints – Animal motifs symbolizing the predator within.
  • Regal purple – A royal colour connected to luxury and vibrancy.

Retailers also report high demand for sensual fabrics like silk and lace to ring in the new year in style. Many brands offer specialty collections that play into the meaning and allure behind this tradition.

Should men participate in this tradition too?

Absolutely! While coloured underwear is often marketed toward women, men can also embrace this fun custom. Styles like boxer briefs and trunks are available in a wide range of hues and prints to suit any personality.

Some colours said to attract certain fortunes for men include:

  • Red – Passion, virility, and confidence
  • Yellow – Optimism, energy, and joy
  • Green – Growth, renewal, and finances
  • Blue – Stability, intellect, and calm
  • White – Focus, simplicity, and fresh starts

Beyond colour, men should choose fabrics and silhouettes that make them feel self-assured. By dressing their lower half in something that packs personality and flair, gentlemen can participate in this tradition just as stylishly as ladies.

Does the colour of your underwear really matter?

At the end of the day, the only luck and fortune we make comes from our own actions, attitudes, and connections. What undergarments someone wears on December 31st will not magically shape their destiny in the coming year.

However, embracing this tradition can spark optimism, fun, and confidence at the dawn of a new year. When infused with personal meaning and intent, choosing underwear in shades that resonate can be a whimsical ritual and self-fulfilling prophecy.

So while the colours themselves may not influence outcomes, the mindfulness, purpose, and positivity behind them very well could. Approaching the new year with a playful spirit, open heart, and inspired outlook is always in style!


Wearing coloured underwear on New Year’s Eve is a popular superstition with origins linked to various global cultures. While the exact symbolism and meanings vary, common motifs include red for passion, yellow for prosperity, white for peace, and green for money. This tradition surged in popularity in the early 20th century with help from media and commercialization.

Similar practices exist across the world as people observe customs representing their hopes and shedding past misfortunes. Though there’s no scientific evidence underwear hue impacts luck, embracing this custom with intent can set an optimistic mood. At the core, this tradition signifies aspiration, desire, and celebrating life’s renewals.

So don coloured underwear this New Year’s Eve if the mood strikes! Select hues and styles meaningful to you as you revel in the endless possibilities of the coming year.

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