Countries around the world have their own traditions and superstitions when celebrating the New Year and these vary immensely. Hispanic countries, on the other hand, share almost the same New Year’s Eve traditions and superstitions.
Here are 8 of those famous traditions and superstitions:
1) Eating 12 Grapes At Midnight
New Year’s Eve (or Nochevieja), which means “night old”, consists of eating 12 grapes at 12 o’clock during the 12 gongs of a clock. Eating 12 grapes when the clock strikes 12 is believed to bring good luck for the following year.
These 12 grapes also represent 12 wishes and must be eaten quickly (or before the 12 gongs of the clock end), which is quite the task as Spanish grapes have large seeds. This tradition originated in Spain, Mexico, and other Latin American countries practice the same tradition.
Read more about this tradition here.
2) Wearing Yellow or Red Underwear
It may sound strange but, believe it or not, it is a very strong superstition and many actually believe it! Wearing yellow underwear is thought to bring happiness and financial success and wearing a pair of red undies will ensure a year filled with passion and love. If you were to choose — would you wear yellow or red underwear?
This superstition is believed to be practiced in many Hispanic countries.
3) Walking Around The Block With Suitcases
For travel enthusiasts, Colombians, especially, believe that doing this means more travel opportunities in the coming year. How it is done — people would normally walk around the block or the house with a suitcase as the New Year kicks in. To make it more exciting, think of all the countries you’d like to visit while doing this!
4) Burning Muñecos
A New Year’s tradition from Panama, Mexico, Ecuador, and other places, people set up Muñecos (the Spanish name for dolls) after Christmas, and burn them for New Year. These dolls are effigies of people who played a rather large role in the news, politics, or even one’s personal life during the past year and burned as a way to say good-bye to the past.
It signifies the old saying “doing away with the old, and bringing in the new.”
5) Eating Lentils
Particularly in Chile, but also known around the world, is the tradition of eating lentils on New Year’s Eve. According to this, you should eat a spoonful of lentils at midnight to ensure prosperity for the upcoming year. The lentils, with their coin-like shape, represent luck and prosperity. The dish is often served with cotechino, a spicy pork sausage, and zampone, a deboned pig trotter stuffed with sausage meat. Pork signifies the fat or bounty of the land.
6) Place Money Inside Your Shoe For Economic Stability
Most Latinos want to have money or coins (some insist on silver) in hand, in their pockets or inside their shoes, as the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve. Putting money in your shoe and pockets, or holding money in your hand when the clock strikes midnight is believed to bring you good fortune and prosperity.
7) Graveyard Camping
Locals in Chile will gather in a graveyard for a NYE slumber party with their departed lovers to welcome the New Year on a good note. While this may seem kind of grim for people who have not celebrated this tradition, the people who practice it say that slumbering with their loved ones brings peace and sometimes even luck.
8) Throwing Water Out The Window
This is another ritual of throwing out the bad things from the past year and starting the new year fresh. How it is done: simply toss a bucket of water out the window or throw a cup of water over your shoulder. It basically represents getting rid of last year’s tears and problems.
Some say that if the water falls on someone you don’t care for, bad luck will fall on them.
May this year bring new goals, new achievements and a lot of new inspirations in your life. Wishing you a year fully loaded with happiness, good fortune, and love.
Feliz año nuevo!T
The Spanish Academy Team