Yellow underwear is flying off the shelves these days in the Chilean capital Santiago, where tradition holds that it brings prosperity and love.

That’s just one of many colourful New Year’s rituals in Latin America, where some spend the evening walking around with a suitcase, others put potatoes under the bed and still others throw buckets of water out the window.

“The yellow underwear is for love, luck, money and so that this year will go well for everyone,” says Gladys Leal, a saleswoman at a lingerie stand in Santiago’s Meiggs neighbourhood.

This time of year, she specialises in yellow undergarments in all shapes and sizes, for women and men alike.

But there’s a catch, says her colleague, Jesica Silva: “The underwear has to be given as a gift to bring luck.”

Yellow, she says, “represents the golden rays of abundance and prosperity.”

Tradition holds that yellow undies brings prosperity to the wearer.

Tradition holds that yellow undies brings prosperity to the wearer.

Some even say the undies should be worn inside-out to guarantee a year full of passion.

“Beyond yellow lingerie, the tradition is more tied to the colour itself,” says Chilean writer Hector Velis-Meza, author of a book called The Secret History of Christmas and New Year’s.

Yellow is seen in Latin America as a symbol of the sun, an eternal light, he says.

Chile is not the only country that adheres to the tradition.

Underwear of every style, as long as they are bright yellow, will work to bring good luck.

Underwear of every style, as long as they are bright yellow, will work to bring good luck.

It also exists in Mexico, Peru and Ecuador, with slight variations. Some say you should wear red undies for love, yellow for money.

In Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil, pink is the colour of choice.

And in Venezuela, revellers are supposed to wear only new clothes — a tall order this year as the once-booming oil exporter struggles through an economic crisis. – AFP Relaxnews