Does anyone else feel like December is the best month of the year? Many things about December make it feel superior to the rest of the months. It has everything people yearn all year long. It’s a month filled with an abundance of celebrations and the importance of unity seems to be exemplified during these 31 short days. People also get the chance to live out many of their traditions during this festive month. If anything, this is what makes December that much more memorable.
Traditions are usually what keep any family or culture afloat. It is almost like a stamp that is passed down hoping to get imprinted for many generations to come. Each family has its own, but we can’t deny that traditions play a big role, especially on New Year’s Eve. Whether these traditions are being practiced to manifest more traveling or good luck for the upcoming year, traditions are consistently part of Latin families.
Growing up, I had the chance to witness a plethora of Latin New Year’s Eve traditions because my mother wanted to try them all. Though we are Colombian, she wanted to try out other culture’s traditions too. I suppose we were culture-fluid in that sense. Each year, I learned of a new one and what it meant for the next year if we executed it right. I guess my mother didn’t want to take any chance on her luck? The whole thing seemed silly to me at the time, but at least it gave me something to look forward to each New Year’s Eve.
Now that I’m older, I realize I’ve gone through a lot of New Year’s Eve traditions. I did go and ask around to get a different perspective on other Latin traditions I might’ve missed. Below is the colorful selection of some Latin New Year’s Eve traditions.
Tip: There aren’t too many traditions that you can engage in on New Year’s Eve. Do them all if you’d like. Manifest all those good vibes!
Eat 12 Grapes
I had to start off with the classic one. According to tradition, each grape represents a wish for the New Year. So, as you’re eating them, don’t forget to make your wishes. I also advise you to buy seedless grapes. It isn’t really fun trying to scarf down seedless grapes before midnight, let alone if they have any seeds in them!
Lentils Are Really Important
You know those tasty legumes, lentils? Yes, the same ones you use to make lentil soup. Well, it is said that this kitchen pantry essential can also help you gain money in the upcoming year. Or at least, not go totally broke. All you have to do is take a handful of lentils, pack them in a small bag, and stuff it in your pocket or purse. If you’d rather drop the lentils bag-less, then you may do that as well. Make sure you do this before midnight. For best results, carry these lentils all through NYE evening all the way until midnight!
Don’t throw away the pack of lentils you opened for this tradition, either. Keep it and make yourself a nice meal containing lentils for the next day. It is said that eating lentils as your first meal on the first will secure food on the table for the rest of the year. Are lentils the new superfood?
Run Around With Luggage
Want to travel more next year? Fret not! Grab any luggage you own, preferably one with wheels (it’s funner), and run around like there’s no tomorrow! Run inside your house, run outside, run around your house — there really is no limit to running for this tradition. Apparently, doing this will ensure you travel more in the upcoming year. Do this as soon as the New Year enters your way.
Notes With a Purpose
This tradition starts on Christmas Eve. Some families write down their wishes on a small piece of paper after dinner (it can even be wrapping paper) and then they hang these wishes on the tree. If you want to do this in a fancier way, tie the blank paper on wine glasses. I suggest you write small, so that you may get all your wishes in there!
An Egg and Your Future
This one is meant to foretell your New Year. You’re supposed to grab a clear glass, fill it with water, and crack an egg inside of the glass. Don’t forget to wrap the glass with a paper towel. After this, you can place this glass inside the fridge, although some people put it under their beds. On the morning of the New Year, you will unveil the glass and try to interpret the shapes that formed inside the glass. The shapes that you decipher will give you a clue on what to expect in the New Year. For example, if you see crosses, death will be close to you that year. However, if you see cradles, then babies will be what’s in store for you or your family. Don’t worry if you can’t interpret your egg. There are people who charge to “read” your egg. You just have to look for them before doing this. Whether this is true or not, it is a commonly practiced Latin tradition.
Potatoes Hold the Truth
Talking about the future, potatoes are something that can allegedly help you out. Legend and Latin tradition has it that potatoes can predict how your next year will go for you. In order to participate in this, you must grab three potatoes. Then, you’ll peel one completely, half-way peel another one, and leave one unpeeled. The potato that is peeled represents a difficult year is upon you and the one that isn’t peeled all the way represents somewhat of a challenging year, but manageable. The potato that isn’t peeled represents an overall good year. Now, to see which year you’re to get, you must throw these potatoes under your bed or under a chair. Do it randomly and don’t look which direction they took. Once the New Year hits, reach under your bed (eyes closed!) and grab the first potato that you find. Whichever potato you grab will tell you how your year is going to be.
Choose Your Underwear Wisely
If potatoes can predict your future, then there’s no reason why your underwear can’t ensure a better future for you! See, in some Latin countries, the color of underwear you wear on New Year’s Eve may give you a boost on how your New Year will go. Even men get in on this tradition. For instance, some say that you’ll have a year filled with good luck if you wear yellow underwear. However, others claim that red underwear will bring you your true love in the next year. From personal experience, I have always gone with the yellow ones. I figured if yellow brings me good luck, then it’ll help me have good luck in love as well. Right? What color would you wear?
Secure Your Bag
Most resolutions involve money. People want more money or they at the very least want to be financially secure. Well, there are a few Latin New Year’s Eve traditions that may help out in this department.
For starters, you want to have money on you once the clock strikes 12. It can even be a dollar, just don’t meet the New Year without any money. As per tradition, having money on you for the New Year means that you will always have money on you in the New Year. Another thing you can do to secure your bag is to put money in all your drawers and handbags. You can even place a few coins in each of these places. This is also done so that the New Year won’t ever catch you without any money. I don’t know if this works or not. But I do participate in this tradition every year just in case. You never know!
Buckets of Water
The start of a new year means new energies. You want to leave all the negativity in the previous year and start fresh for the new year. This is why it’s important to wash away all those bad vibes for the New Year. In order to do this, you want to fill up 12 buckets of water and throw the water out when New Year hits. However, if 12 buckets are too much for you, you can also do this with one bucket. The whole point is to cleanse away the bad juju of the previous year and to deviate it from the New Year.
Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
Oftentimes, I hear people speaking about the event called Spring Cleaning, where they extensively deep clean their homes. Latin families have a tradition similar to Spring Cleaning, but it happens way before. It actually happens throughout the entire month of December. My mother used to tell me that if the New Year catches you with a dirty house, then you’d be dirty the entire year. It also gives you a chance to purify everything in your house. I don’t know why this terrified me so much, but it did. Who wants to be dirty for 12 months after all? So, during December, you must clean EVERYTHING. From inside the cabinets to the pictures that hang around your house. Clean your books, closets, doorknobs, all of it! Have you deep cleaned your home already?
Toast With Champagne
One of the most common traditions carried out during New Year’s is toasting with champagne. This has been occurring since the times of the early Romans and somewhere along the way, Latin cultures took this tradition under their wing. Toasting with champagne apparently provides good luck for the New Year. You’ll want to toast with those around you as the fireworks start going off in the background and everyone’s excitement is at its climax. Married couples are sometimes seen placing their marriage rings inside the champagne and toasting with each other at midnight. If you’re like me, you can also make champagne Jello shots and serve it throughout New Year’s Eve. You have to make things fun in life and I’m here for all of that.
As you can see, there are many traditions to go around. But if you ask me, the most significant tradition is the one where you share laughter and joy with your loved ones. Don’t get so caught up in how your New Year is going to treat you. All you have to make sure is that you’re consistently working towards your goals while maintaining a good spirit about everything around you. Make this a memorable New Year.