What Are You Doing for New Year’s Eve? Here Are 5 Latino Traditions

Two women celebrating New Years holding a glass of champagne Latin Business Today

Chances are that if you are Hispanic, it may include incorporating some of these five peculiar New Year’s Eve traditions


Chances are that if you are Hispanic, it may include incorporating some peculiar New Year’s Eve traditions that are said to bring you much luck in the New Year. And thanks to my immigrant parents from Mexico, I had a chance to experience many of these interesting traditions first-hand.

Here are just a few I can remember, but feel free to add more to this list:

1.  Twelve Grapes:

No New Year’s Eve celebration is complete without eating twelve individual grapes to ring in the New Year. Tradition holds that one is to make a wish for every month of the year.

2.  Eating Lentils:

Like grapes, eating lentil soup is supposed to bring you lots of good luck in the New Year. But unlike grapes, there isn’t a specified amount of lentils one needs to consume.

3.  Wearing Red Underwear:

Yes, bet you didn’t know that what you wear is almost as important as what you eat on New Year’s Eve in Latin America and Hispanic culture.

4.  Walking Around with a Suitcase:

Want to travel in the New Year? – Then find that suitcase from the closet and walk around the house with it so that the New Year is filled with many trips to fun and exotic locations.

5.  Dumping Out a Bucket of Water:

This one was always my family’s favorite because it is so funny. My sisters and I have fond memories of seeing my parents run out of our apartment to dump a bucket of water in the streets of New York City once the clock struck midnight.

Here are some other Latin American New Year’s Eve traditions I learned about while researching Latino traditions for this article:

  • Handing out some silver
  • Using Fireworks to burn an effigy
  • Hanging up a lamb
  • A good sweep
  • Firing off a rifle
  • Stashing cash around the house

And finally, here is one that is not for the faint of heart.

According to Alex Alvarez of ABC News, in some places in Latin America, including Chile, some folks like to ring in the New Year with their deceased loved ones.

Now in my mid-thirties and with a family of my own that includes a newborn, my wife and I are struggling to make it past 10PM on most nights. But even if we were able to make it past midnight this year, truth be told, I’m not superstitious so I’m not committed to any of these. And yet there are elements of these traditions that I would like to incorporate with my own family in the years to come.

For one, New Year’s Eve was sacred for my family. It wasn’t a time of revelry and wild parties. It was almost a solemn occasion to reflect on the past year and look to the New Year with optimism and hope. This was especially true when I think about the grape eating tradition of my family.

I have come to realize that if I want my kids to have pride in their Mexican and Latin American heritage, then the holidays are a perfect way to incorporate some of my family’s traditions.

What are you doing for New Year’s Eve? And did your family have some of these traditions growing up?

Related articles:

3 Things You Should Consider for Your Business By Year End

Cinco de Mayo and Celebrating Freedom

Cascarònes–A Fun Latin Tradition for Easter!


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