A beginner’s guide to choosing the colour of your underwear on New Year’s Eve

By Malavika Pradeep

Published Dec 31, 2022 at 09:00 AM

Reading time: 5 minutes

When crises came knocking on our doors in 2022, lavender candles were lit, kidcore rainbow charms were donned, credit cards were swiped in fountains, and solutions were manifested to subliminal playlists on YouTube. While doomscrolling and shitposting skyrocketed, most of us squeezed the last drop of serotonin our brains had to offer in the quest for fleeting optimism that could last us the rest of the year.

Well, what if I told you that the holiday season comes with a legendary custom that could—quite literally—help you set the tone for the next 365 days altogether? As 2022 comes to a close, it’s time to pay attention to the tiniest and often overlooked detail in our New Year’s Eve outfit: the colour of our underwear. Let me explain.

The unique tradition of lucky underwear colours

Unless you’re still living in the dial-up modem age of the internet, chances are that you’ve heard about the countless New Year’s Eve traditions around the world. Be it tossing non-lethal furniture out of the balcony, smashing plates on your neighbour’s door, or keeping carp scales in your wallet, these customs hinge on hopes of starting a new chapter every year with fortune and good luck at the forefront.

While the origins of many New Year’s Eve traditions have been lost to time, the custom of wearing undies of a specific colour is believed to have started in Latin America—although countries including Spain and Italy also practise the same.

According to Zenger News, the tradition in question dates back to the Middle Ages when Church authorities barred people from wearing red garments, which were associated with dark forces, blood, and witchcraft. “However, people started to see the colour as an evocation of life and passion. They then began using it during the winter to attract abundance, as this time was when nature dried up and survival was difficult,” the publication reported.

As of today, supermarkets in Mexico are seen selling underwear of different colours—majorly bright red, yellow, and green—leading up to New Year’s Eve. Many Asian countries including China, Taiwan, and the Philippines have also followed suit.

The belief behind the tradition is that the colour of the undies you wear on the last night of the year will dictate your luck for the next 365 days. “There are many different myths and legends,” Clementina Ordoñez, a merchant in the city of Veracruz, Mexico, told Zenger News. “Here, women buy more items than men, although each passing year, the number of interested men grows.”

Although there are no ‘ground rules’ for the custom, many claim that the undergarment should be freshly purchased close to New Year’s Eve. While some believe a clean pair would get the job done, others state that there’s a better chance of embracing luck in the upcoming year if the underwear is gifted by someone else over the holiday season.

Nevertheless, wishing upon a colourful undie has never hurt anyone. So, whether you choose to pair it with a set of matching aura nails or jazz things up with Pantone’s Colour of The Year 2023 ‘Viva Magenta’, here’s an overview of all the lucky underwear colours you can sport when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve:

1. Red

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Was your 2022 Dating Wrapped a brutal reality check of your lacklustre love life? If you’ve been on one too many Tinder dates or stream Joji like there’s no tomorrow, red might just be your lucky colour for 2023.

Red underwear is often worn in the spirit of bringing romance and passion into one’s life. In China, people prefer pairing the colour with gold lace in a bid to embrace loyalty, happiness, and success. In Italy and Spain, red underwear is also considered as the standard to promote a healthy lifestyle.

2. Yellow

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Consider donning a fresh pair of yellow (or gold) underpants if you’re looking to make some serious dough or land a dream job in the year ahead.

The colour essentially symbolises prosperity and wealth in countries like Brazil and Mexico, and is believed to bring a plethora of other successes into your life. When it comes to gold-hued underwear, however, Peru, Chile, and Ecuador have a rule that the pair should be gifted for them to work their sunny magic. In some Latin American countries, people also claim that you should wear yellow underwear backwards or inside out to boost your luck even more. Say less.

3. Green

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As the quintessential colour of nature, you can choose to wear green underwear this New Year’s Eve if you’re addicted to your phone and use TikTok like it’s Google. If you’re a Discord user, the purpose behind that previous line is basically to “go outside and touch some grass fr.”

Symbolising freedom and natural energy, green underwear is said to bestow a change of scenery and pump your life chock full of new possibilities. In some countries, the colour is also believed to usher good fortune—given its association with money and growth.

4. Blue

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If your New Year’s resolution is to eat better, work out more, and take regular mental breaks, blue is your go-to underwear colour. Worn in the hopes of improving health, wellness, and tranquillity in the upcoming year, the colour doubles as a reminder to breathe, listen to your body, and make health your number one priority.

5. White

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If your rat race of a job, social battery, or your exhaustive existence on the internet has drained all of your energy in 2022, listen up. Harbouring parallels with blue underwear, white is the perfect colour choice for those of you who want a little extra serenity in 2023.

As a universal symbol of peace, purity, innocence, happiness, joy, and rebirth, white underwear is donned with the promise of welcoming a fulfilling life and reversing your fate in the year ahead. In Puerto Rico, the colour is also believed to promote fertility, health, and overall zen.

6. Pink

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Why settle for less if the colour of your New Year’s Eve underwear can strengthen your relationship with your boo, friends, and family… right?

As opposed to red, pink underwear is all about evolving your unspoken rizz and inviting harmony into your life. This rosy hue is preferred in South American countries like Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, and is believed to boost your luck when it comes to your social life—coupled with a promise that the future won’t always be so tense. In fact, wearing this colour is said to inspire you to make more concrete plans with your friend group and even hit things off with someone new.

7. Black

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Now, the belief surrounding this colour is quite disputed. While some claim black underwear ushers control, helps you take the reins, focus on your goals, and stay streamlined and organised the following year, others state that the gloomy colour brings nothing but bad luck.

Sure, black lingerie may be sexy to don during New Year’s Eve but, if you ask me, I’d recommend switching things up with another colour just to stay on the safe side. At the end of the day, it’s literally a new year. So, why not take your first step in something more vivid than sticking to a classic shade of underwear?

8. Polka dots

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This last one’s a bit eccentric for a New Year’s tradition. In the Philippines, polka dots—and round shapes, in general—are considered lucky for those seeking riches in the upcoming year. Here, wearing polka-dotted underwear is said to bring you financial prosperity and fortune that could last ages!

If I were you, I’d choose a base colour aligned with your goals and purchase a polka dot version of the same. Boom! Two birds, one stone. Now, it’s your turn to choose your New Year’s Eve underwear wisely.

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