Many Latin Americans gather as a family to welcome the new year. Others prefer to be in a bar or disco surrounded by friends, music and party atmosphere, and a great part, enjoy walking through the streets to see the lights and observe the fireworks. Everything is a matter of taste. The truth is that when the 12 chimes on the clock ring, the uproar reaches the streets and Latino homes, an inexplicable mixture of sadness, nostalgia, hope, and joy for a year to come and another year to go. These are some of the traditions that Latinos have to celebrate the New Year:
This tradition is celebrated in Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, and Ecuador. This tradition consists of creating a doll with the figure of a famous person during that year. At midnight, these dolls will be cremated. The doll is filled with straw, fireworks, and paper. This tradition seeks to get rid of the bad energy of the previous year.
Cleaning the house
In many Latin American countries, at midnight, people sweep their homes to get rid of any bad energy. So if you see Latinos sweeping at midnight, don’t think they are obsessed with cleaning.
Walking outside of the house with a suitcase
Looking to travel? Many people think that walking with a suitcase, either around your home or around the block, will bring opportunities to travel in the new year. This ritual is very common in Venezuela and Colombia.
Wear yellow underwear
To bring good luck in the next 365 days, people from countries like Chile, Colombia, or Venezuela wear yellow underwear. They believe that prosperity is closely related to the color yellow, so if on New Year’s Eve you see people dressed in yellow, they must be Colombian or Chilean.
Eat 12 grapes
This tradition is carried on in most Spanish-speaking countries. People eat 12 grapes and make 12 wishes. The idea of this ritual is to have 12 months of pure prosperity.
It’s all about the lentils. People in Latin America during the New Year eat them or put them in the house. According to experts and Latin grandmothers, lentils bring prosperity and abundance.
Burning candles for wealth and food
A common New Year’s ritual in Mexico is to place candles on a white plate surrounded by lentils, beans, rice, corn, flour, and cinnamon. The candles are left to burn, the rest of the wax and food is collected and buried to promote good fortune and food abundance in the coming year.
Handling some coins or bills
Holding coins or bills at midnight is thought to bring a fortune in various countries of Latin America. In some countries, people put money in their shoes, and in Ecuador, they hide money around the house to bring prosperity in the New Year.
Predict your financial situation with potatoes
A classic custom in Peru and Colombia is to put three potatoes under your chair or sofa to predict your financial situation for the next year: one peeled, one partially peeled, and one unpeeled. At midnight you need to pick, without looking, one of the potatoes. If you choose the potato without skin, this means no money; partially skinned means a regular year, and the potato with a full skin means that you will have good fortune in the New Year.
In Latin America there are many more traditions, I personally believe in some of them. These rituals are important since they help us begin the new year with hope and the drive to work harder to achieve our goals.
How will you be celebrating New Year’s Eve? Are you going to try any of these Latino American traditions? Let us know in the comments!