12 ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve…Latino-style

Hugo Balta

As the clock strikes midnight to ring in the new year, you might see Latinos throughout New Hampshire doing their best to eat 12 grapes before the clock finishes tolling. Or you may see them running outside with their suitcases in hand. Or tossing water out the front door.

These are just some of the traditions that help ensure prosperity, love, and travel — among other things —in the new year.

Here are 12 things that many Latinos will do to ring in the new year 🥳

  1. Eating 12 grapes. Each grape represents a month of the year. With each grape, a wish is made. But be sure to eat the grapes before the clock strikes 12:01 a.m.
  2. What you wear matters. In Mexico, people will wear either red or yellow underwear on New Year’s Eve. Wearing red means you will find love in the new year. But if you’re not looking for a new love, then wear yellow to bring economic prosperity, a work promotion or a new job. In other Latin American countries, people will choose to wear one of the following colors: Blue for wellness, good health, tranquility. White for peace, harmony, happiness. Green for well-being, life, nature. Oh, and the underwear should be new.
  3. Suitcases. If you see people walking around outside with their suitcases don’t be alarmed. Taking your suitcases out for a stroll at midnight is a way to ensure you will travel far and wide in the new year.
  4. Grab the broom. Don’t carry the bad energy and vibes from the old year into the new year, be sure to sweep from the interior of the house to the outside. This gets rid of all the negativity.
  5. Money in your shoe. Placing a coin or dollar bill (or more) in your shoe will ensure you have money in the coming year.
  6. I do. Looking to get married in the new year? Then find a chair and sit and stand 12 times to the rhythm of the 12 strikes of the clock at midnight.
  7. Lighting different colored candles. Blue candles for peace; yellow for wealth; red for love and passion; green for health; white for clarity; orange symbolizes intelligence.
  8. Cinnamon sticks. Place sticks of cinnamon throughout the house for peace in the coming year.
  9. Eating Lentils: In Chile, people eat lentils representing luck and prosperity. The dish is often served with cotechino and zampone. Pork signifies the bounty of the land; ensuring a prosperous new year.

10. Toss a bucket of water

In Puerto Rico, a way to get rid of bad vibes is to toss a bucket of water from the house out toward the street. This gets rid of the evil spirits from the previous year.

11. El borreguito

In Mexico, there is a tradition to put a small sheep over the front door to one’s home. The borreguito insures que no falte lana in the new year. The borreguitos can be found in different sizes in any of the city’s markets.

12. Muñecos de año nuevo 

These scarecrow looking muñecos de año nuevo standing all over the Colombian countryside will be lit up on 12/31 as part of a tradition to rejuvenate in the new year by burning away past negative energy…a personal restart.