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Ringing in New Year in brand-new underwear

world Updated: Jan 03, 2010 23:44 IST
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A visitor here might be confused when suddenly, at the end of December, there appears in street stalls and market bins a mountain of underwear for sale. At subway stops, in grocery aisles, in department stores, it’s all about ladies’ undergarments, and always in red or yellow.

The recently arrived might take a guess. A bitter sporting rivalry? The Red Devils against the Yellow Hornets?

Nope. It is a popular New Year’s ritual for women in Mexico to don fresh briefs to ring out the old and ring in the new, and apparently nothing says Happy 2010 like a pair of bloomers — red for love and yellow for wealth.

Because the choice of a colour signifies one’s aspirations for the coming year, newspapers in Mexico send out reporters to quiz vendors about the national mood, and as 2009 — a year of soaring drug violence and deep economic tremors — shuddered to a stop, the vote was clear.

“Yellow. That’s all they want. I am selling twice as much yellow as red,” said Lucia Mendoza, from the central market in the capital’s Coyoacan neighbourhood.

Mexico’s $1 trillion economy shrank by over 7 per cent in 2009, the hardest-hit in Latin America, a victim of the recession in the US, Mexico’s No. 1 trading partner.

Everybody here is ready for a jump-start in 2010.

Maria Jose Diaz, an editor of a magazine devoted to horoscopes, said: “Until recently, you only saw the red panties, but then they started selling the yellow, yellow for gold, for money. It was a commercial decision.”

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