Harkening back to an old Spanish tradition, many Latin American countries now say adios to the previous year by burning effigies. This gets rid of any bad energy, and brings hope of change and renewal, much like fire itself! ‘Burning’ the year away is popular from Paraguay to Peru, Colombia, and even Mexico.
In Spain, it is tradition to eat exactly 12 grapes once midnight arrives on the first day of January! Each grape is meant to bring luck for each month of the year, and in some countries it is even customary to make a personal wish for each eaten grape.
An Andean speciality that has become popular particularly in Colombia and Peru, this New Year’s tradition entails placing three potatoes under your chair to predict your finances and general situation in the new year. One potato is fully peeled, another is half-peeled, and the other is left with its skin on. Then, at midnight, you will choose one of the potatoes at random to predict your future! If you select the fully peeled potato, it means you won’t enjoy financial success. The half-peeled potato predicts an average year. Finally, an unpeeled potato is a symbol of monetary and general luck for the new year ahead - the best option!!
Many Latin American countries place importance on the type of underwear you wear to welcome 2024! As hilarious as this sounds, the tradition states that this will have a significant impact on the year ahead! For example, yellow underwear is meant to bring luck, while red underwear is worn if someone is looking for love!
In Caribbean countries like Cuba, it is a popular New Year’s tradition to throw a bucket of water out of your window or your front door, once again to signify renewal. Some people also hope to splash someone who did them wrong in the previous year - a little bit of cheeky payback!
Ready to celebrate the next New Year in Latin America or Spain, and experience some of these fantastic traditions yourself? Take a look at our Spanish courses here, and get yourself ready to say Feliz Año Nuevo!
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January 10, 2024
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