If Kikitiando had a theme song it would be the Willy Chirino song, “Lo Que ‘sta Pa’ Ti”
The first line is: “La Vida es una ruleta”!
Pero, the way I did New Year’s Eve, it was much more a Rueda.
New Year’s Eve has always been very special to me. My abuelos were married NYE so I have many happy childhood memories of the big anniversary parties we would throw for them. When I eventually get married, I plan on doing so on NYE and so I’ve always been very protective of my plans and how I bring in the new year.
I have never kissed anyone at midnight. I’ve had some after midnight kisses, but not any midnight kisses and I have worked hard to keep it that way.
I am all for traditions, especially Cuban New Year’s Eve Traditions, and have found it rather difficult to kikitiar at midnight if I’m out and about. Plus, the idea of being out while so many drunk people are out just doesn’t sound like fun to me. I never liked the 200 Cigarettes type of pressure that seems to follow New Year’s Eve. So I like to stay home, alone. I make sure the house is clean. I get all dressed up, and I enjoy hours of tv. I like to pick a tv show and just watch as many episodes as I can… it’s gloriously decadent. In the minutes leading up to midnight, I’ll pour myself a glass of champagne and drop a sugar cube in it (a trick I learned on Moonstruck and it makes me smile). I’ll have a bowl of 12 grapes sitting on the table by the door, right next to the suitcase and the bucket of water and the money.
At midnight, the minute of madness ensues. While wearing my yellow underwear, I’ll toast the New Year saying, “El ano que viene, en Cuba” while dumping the bucket of water out the door, eating the grapes, walking outside with the suitcase and putting the money into the mailbox … and laughing hysterically.
It’s special to me and I just love it. These past couple of years, though, my antics have been somewhat thwarted and I’ve had to modify my traditions… seemingly, for the better because now I consider myself kikitiando through the new year. It started last year, I found myself with a driving need to go out dancing. Pero HOW could I GO OUT if I was going to accomplish all my Cuban New Year’s Eve silliness? Simple…
I now celebrate New Year’s Eve on Cuban Time.
So last year, when 9 PM rolled around, I was dressed up, wearing my yellow underwear for good luck, eating 12 grapes for prosperity, toasting* and saying “Next year, in Cuba,” dumping a bucket of water outside and then running (in my high heels) with my suitcase to the mailbox to put in my money.
An hour later, I was out dancing, so when midnight California time came around, I was dancing. It was THE. BEST. NEW YEAR’S EVE. EVER!
This year… was different.
My brother’s birthday happens to fall on December 30th which means that he tends to get lost in the Christmas shuffle, unless he does what he did this year… have a party on New Year’s Eve. Not just any party, a murder mystery dinner party. That’s great… for him and his friends. His friends are not my friends, though. And how was I going to succeed at being alone with a house-full of partiers? As I was resigning myself to my fate and the bad luck I’d have in 2011 for skipping out on my NYE Kikitiando, I received an invitation to a Salsa Party.
Some new friends who love salsa dancing as much as I do were having a house party. Problem solved, sort of… The party started at 3 in the afternoon.
I rose to the occasion. Forget the grapes! Forget toasting! It isn’t truly kikitiando if it can’t evolve, right? Of course right!
Instead of wearing yellow underwear I WENT CRAZY! I wore HOT PINK & ORANGE with WHITE POLKA DOTS!
I still dressed up and I decided when I arrived at the party at 6 PM that I would still celebrate “on Cuban time.” I know that it was the right choice and that God loves me because at 9 PM I was smiling and dancing in a Rueda. When the dance was over, I grabbed my mojito, walked outside and whispered to the freezing night air “El ano que viene, en Cuba.”
It doesn’t get more Cuban than that!**
*I toasted with Martinelli’s because I knew I would be driving shortly thereafter.
**I may or may not have knocked over a bucket of melted ice that was already outside and taken 12 bites of the pastelito I’d grabbed from the dessert spread in the kitchen… por si acaso… 😉