Each year, when the clock strikes at midnight on December 31, Latin American countries celebrate the New Year with unique traditions. Some cultures may ask for a walk around the neighborhood with suitcases in tow, while others suggest snacking on grapes to make their resolutions come true. Here are six Latino New Year’s Eve traditions that might bring you luck.
1. Wear colorful underwear on New Years Eve.
In Latin America, and especially Mexico, wearing colorful underwear has become a popular tradition for New Years Eve, as it is believed that different colors will determine what happens over the next 12 months. For those looking for love in 2022, red is the perfect color to wear. Yellow underwear, on the other hand, symbolizes money and wealth. Blacks are tied to power and control for those who want to achieve their goals next year. Other colorful underwear is also worn, such as blue for health and wellness and green for adventure.
2. Eat 12 grapes on New Year’s Eve.
This one is tasty and simple: eat 12 grapes, each one representing a wish for the 12 months of the new year. The New Year’s tradition originated in Spain and was introduced to Latin America over a century ago. One theory suggests that it is an imitation of the Spanish bourgeoisie, who started the new year by eating grapes; another traces the tradition back to the extensive 1909 harvest in the city of Alicante, during which merchants sold the idea of eating grapes on New Year’s Eve as a way to sell their produce. Either way, grapes are believed to bring a year of good luck and prosperity.
3. Burn the muñeco de Año Viejo on New Year’s Eve.
The fire of the muñeco by Año Viejo, or the “doll of yesteryear”, is a tradition unique to Colombian culture. The doll, with an interior made of gunpowder, newspapers or old objects and an exterior made of old clothes, is believed to represent the evil of the previous year – and sometimes even a political or public figure. At midnight, the dolls are lit, setting fire to the old and making way for the new.
4. Put money in your pocket on New Years Eve.
People say money comes and goes, but Latinos say the opposite. If you want the money to come and never leave in 2022, don’t start the year with empty pockets. Put bills and coins in your hands, pockets and shoes to keep your paychecks and bonuses flowing into the new year. Some go further by using gold coins. Pro tip: Notes with high denominations are said to attract more cash abundance.
5. Go around the block with suitcases on New Years Eve.
Travelers, this one’s for you. A number of Latin Americans are taking to the streets with their suitcases in their hands at the start of the New Year. According to this tradition, those who take their suitcases for a midnight stroll will be rewarded with trips, vacations and adventures over the next 12 months. Some people think that the longer the walk around the block, the further they will go.
6. Eat lentil soup on New Years Eve.
Another ritual that has made its way to Latin America from Spain is eating lentil soup for prosperity. Lentils were among the first foods to be cultivated by humans, making them highly regarded in ancient Greek and Roman cultures. Their round, flat surfaces resemble money, which is where the ideas of abundance and prosperity come in. Today, many Latinos have embraced this tradition in hopes of making the New Year even better. more prosperous than the previous one.