[TRANSMISSION] January traditions

10 January 2023
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Here we are, in the longest month of the year that lasts 549 days 😅 and it smells good of the King’s cake 😋🍘 and the carnival without mom or dad. But January also sounds like the month of new resolutions (taking up physical activity and a balanced diet) and rituals aimed at unloading negative influences and stress from the previous year to start the new year.

Let’s focus on the traditions of old times and rituals of the new year! Welcome to 2023 !

1. The “bain démarré” or purification bath

If there is one ritual that remains more entrenched in our habits than ever, it is the famous “ben démaré”. And I find that this year, this ritual has been particularly present on news feeds and influencer pages, proof that this tradition endures !

“The bain démarré is a special bath taken by those who believe they are bewitched, victims of a quimbois or bad spell, and suffer from persistent bad luck. In the composition of this bath, seawater, river water, rainwater, and certain plants are used, added by the quimboiseur or quimboiseuse, not forgetting the usual incantations. “

Myreviholidays organizes a “bain démarré” to let go by the river for 3 hours. Today, this purification bath has become a “simple” sea or river bath to start the new year off right, except for purists. Here is an excerpt from La Sorcellerie aux Antilles to have a better understanding of this purification ritual.

bain démarré myreviholidays

2. Wearing white on New Year’s Day

Undoubtedly, this is done to ward off evil spirits.

3. Distributing oranges and tangerines

They are offered to visitors who come to offer their wishes for the New Year. The seeds of the citrus fruits, supposed to attract money for the whole year, are carefully preserved and for some, in their wallet.

4. Visiting family and having the famous vermouth drink

What could be better than an timeless tradition to wish a happy new year ?  The older the vermouth, the better.

A brief history of vermouth: there are several types of vermouth, but all are flavored wines that have been macerated with herbs and alcohol. 

  • First, there is red vermouth. It comes from Italy, specifically from Turin. It is probably the most famous, thanks in part to renowned Italian distilleries such as Carpano, Cinzano, or the most famous one for us, Martini. The latter is rather sweet, with a red or tawny color.
  • Then, there is white vermouth, also known as dry vermouth. This one comes from the other side of the Alps: it comes from here! It was Joseph Noilly who concocted Noilly Prat in the south of France in the 1800s. These types of vermouths are made with dry white wine. They are rather golden and dry.
Excessive drinking is harmful to your health, please consume in moderation.
Martini Vermouth

5. The annual castor oil or cod liver oil purge

Cod liver oil was also used to strengthen the immune system.

I invite you to discover the “Purge d’Antan” herbal tea from Herboristerie Créole made with flowers and roots from our Creole garden.

tisane purge detox herboristerie creole

6. Planting seeds in the four corners of the house to attract good luck

Red beans, lentils, orange seeds… according to your preferences !

7. Breaking an egg

After putting it in a large glass jar, expose it to the sun and observe what happens to you during the year (I admit that I had never heard of this ritual before!)

8. The big house cleaning

Use a new broom to clean thoroughly, hence the expression “balé nef, balé bien” (new brooms sweep well), meaning everything is new and fresh.

The traditional Martinican broom is made from dried leaves of the Latanier palm. A skilled weaving technique and knots tied to a Ti-Baume wooden handle (bwa ti-bonm). Designed for sweeping leaves outdoors, the Latanier broom is flexible and durable.

Marchand De Balais Latanier Martinique

Thus, our Afro-Caribbean society remains faithful to its rituals despite globalization, and fortunately, these can of course have variations depending on families.

I personally believe that it is essential to preserve and transmit our ancestral traditions to the younger generation, as this is what makes us unique.

Through my research, I found that our cultural traditions are very similar to those of Brazil or El Salvador. However, I am still left unsatisfied for not being able to discover the origins of all these ancestral traditions.

And you ? How do you continue to perpetuate all these traditions ? Tell me in the comments !

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