New Year’s Traditions: 8 Latin American Customs To Ring In 2018!

New Year's
Sure, we know people like to kiss their loved ones when midnight strikes, and that custom has spread worldwide, but what many don’t know is that us Latinos have a few tricks up our sleeves to guarantee that we have an outstanding new year! Here are just a few. Shutterstock

The New Year is right around the corner and it’s time to start preparing. For some, this celebration is about partying and having fun, but for Latinos, it’s also about starting a new chapter, getting a clean slate, a new opportunity to start over.

Everyone has their own personal traditions. I, for example have to get my hair and nails done, get a new dress and often go get my make-up done, so that the new year finds me looking and feeling my best, and I can start the year with that positive energy.

Many people will find that vain, but for some reason, when you know you look good, it reflects on yourself, and that’s how I want to face the next challenges, projects and whatever else the year might bring me, with a smile on my face, feeling confident and knowing that I can overcome any obstacles.

Although my little ritual is not a “thing,” we have gathered eight traditions that are widely popular in all Latin America and explained their meaning.

12 grapes We eat 12 grapes one with each toll of the clock when midnight strikes. Each grape represents one month of the year and eating them is supposed to bring you luck. A lot of people throw in an extra one, for extra luck. Shutterstock/ auremar Red underwear A lot of people buy new underwear. If you’re looking for love, your best choice is to wear red underwear, as it is believed that it will help you find your soulmate and/or give you an amorous year. Shutterstock/ Rocketclips, Inc Yellow underwear Wearing yellow underwear means that you will have a prosperous year in your personal finances. Shutterstock/ Maksim Shmeljov Money To attract money, you might want to carry a stash in your pocket, and hold it when midnight strikes. Many believe this will bring you economic success the coming years. Shutterstock/ Africa Studio Suitcase The next tradition might seem a little weird, but people actually do it as I’ve seen many of my “tías” and abuelas take a part of that. You have to walk around in circles with a suitcase. This means that you’ll have a year with plenty of travel. So maybe if you were thinking about that dream vacation, maybe you can try this out and let us know if it worked for you. Shutterstock/ ISchmidt Bucket The next custom is to fill up a cup or bucket with water and toss it onto the front yard or out the window. This means that you will have less tears the following years. This tradition varies within countries, as in Puerto Rico it is believed that throwing the water out the window cleans the old year out. In some parts of Colombia if you throw a pan of water over your shoulder, you will be warding off all the back luck from the previous year. Shutterstock/ ConstantinosZ Cleaning Cleaning the house symbolizes ridding the house of evil spirits as you dust them away. It means starting the year fresh, with positive energy and a clean soul. However, in some places they would rather have a “dirty” house, since sweeping the house on New Year’s Eve means that you’re sweeping your luck away. Shutterstock/ limpido Noises And last but not least, make loud noises. We have all sorts of rattles in all shapes and forms and we love using them once midnight strikes. Add to that the loud countdown and cheers of happiness, plus the cornets, maybe some firecrackers, and if you want to be a bit folkloric, beating pots and pans. Yes, we might think we’re celebrating the beginning of a new year, but we’re also scaring away evil spirits and negative energies. Shutterstock/ fotohunter

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Maria G. Valdez

Maria was born and raised in Dominican Republic, where she began her career in journalism covering human interest stories, entertainment, beauty and wellness for a national magazine. She moved to New York City to study Musical Theatre, but went back to journalism after graduating in an attempt of becoming the Latina Carrie Bradshaw. She has an unhealthy obsession with JLo and claims to be Sofia Vergara’s long-lost daughter, and has tried a crazy amount of treatments to keep looking young. She became a Zumba instructor for fun.

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