New Year’s Eve in Spain and Latin America is as festive as in the rest of the world. Both regions have interesting traditions that you should know about if you are interested in Hispanic culture.
Today in Spanish Express, we bring you the most curious rituals of New Year’s Eve celebrations in Hispanic countries. This way, you can compare these customs with your own, acquire new vocabulary and learn more about the cultural background behind the Spanish language.
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New Year’s Eve in Spain and Latin America
The countries of Latin America and Spain share many of the traditions that are carried out for New Year’s Eve. That’s why we have taken the liberty of making a list of the 5 customs and rituals that the countries of South and Central America, Mexico, and Spain perform.
5. Let’s pack our bags!
This is, without a doubt, one of the most curious traditions of New Year’s Eve in Spain and Latin America.
To carry it out you must take a travel suitcase, fill it with some of your belongings and your passport and then walk down to the closest street to your house with it.
What is the purpose of this? Well, by doing this ritual, you will be attracting travel and vacations into your life. It is said that the farther you go with the suitcase, the more countries you will be able to travel to.
This custom is very popular in the south, especially in countries like Colombia and Venezuela.
4. Time to wear new underwear!
Let’s face it, we can’t lie, if there are two things that many of us hope for in a new year, it’s monetary prosperity and love.
The good news is, there’s a ritual for that too on New Year’s Eve in Spain and Latin America!
Want to attract fortune? Combine your New Year Eve’s outfit with yellow underwear. Looking for love? Then red underwear is a must.
Wear them all night long and welcome the new year with the possibility of new love or something better… a lot of money! In Spain, they know a lot about this tradition.
3. Learn to cook lentils!
Lentils? Yes, lentils. Those tasty grains that, unfortunately, are not used so often, take center stage on the night of December 31.
The delicious dish is placed in the center of the table, and everyone present eats a spoonful. This is done as a representation of a call for abundance, both in food and prosperity.
It is very common in southern countries and Spain.
2. Let the water take it all away!
In Spain and several Central American countries, they let bad vibes flow away with the water.
This is done by filling a bucket or pot with water and leaving it overnight somewhere in the house. When midnight arrives, it must be poured down the drain.
It is believed that this takes away all the bad energies and thus the new year starts clean and fresh.
1. You must eat the grapes fast!
One bell, one grape, another bell, another grape… and in this way you must continue until you complete a total number of 12 grapes.
But why should I eat 12 grapes? You must if you want your New Year’s wishes to be fulfilled. The grapes must be eaten to the rhythm of the last 12 chimes or, as is customary in other countries, to the beat of the last 12 seconds that are counted together with the companions.
For each grape, there is a wish that, if you make it with great confidence, you can see it come true during your year.
But, of course, don’t leave any grapes out!
New Year’s Eve in Spain and Latin America is celebrated with family or friends. Both groups can also get together, but the family atmosphere is given priority.
The evening usually begins with a dinner featuring traditional December or Christmas dishes. After dinner, music is played, and in many countries dancing is not long in coming.
This is something that can also be seen in Mexico, with mariachi music, in Venezuela with the gaitas, and in other areas with some ballads that express the melancholy of saying goodbye to the old year.
In addition to this, and after performing the New Year’s rituals, the champagne is opened and a toast is made to the new year. People hug each other, wish each other a prosperous beginning of the year, and the celebration continues until dawn.
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Happy New Year and a prosperous 2022!
Ginnette Di Damaso
Spanish Express Blogger