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Latin Americas New Year’s Eve Traditions

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It’s time say good-bye to the old!

But oh, if only it were that simple. Sure, people from all over the world party on New Year’s Eve, but folks across Latin America and Spain have a special set of traditions and rituals to ring in the new year. 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!

While some of the traditions below are unique to specific countries, many are celebrated by various nations, as well as by Latinos here in the U.S. Latin Americans not only bid farewell to another year gone by but make sure the next one will be even better.

These traditions vary from family to family, but every Latino has at least heard or done one in their lifetime. From carefully coordinating your underwear to setting lots of stuff on fire (always fun, right?).

So pop the champagne and let’s toast (don’t forget that gold ring!) to a happier, more prosperous, and loving new year! These are 12 of my favorites….

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1. Eating 12 Grapes:

As you prepare to countdown to the new year, make sure you have a plate of grapes close by.

But this is no midnight snack. Before (or during) the hugs and kisses that ensue after the new year begins, make sure to eat 12 grapes —

When the clock strikes midnight, people across various Spanish-speaking countries like Cuba and Spain make sure to eat 12 grapes — one for good luck in each month of the new year. 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.

But beware! Get a sour grape and that could mean a bad month is in store for you. Also, many believe the grapes must be consumed within the first 12 minutes of the new year — or else…

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2. Picking the Right Underwear:

Your future happiness and love life may very well depend on your panties!
But don’t go and get them all up in a bunch. Just remember that before you frantically go in search of the outfit to welcome the New Year, what you should really be focusing on is what’s underneath. (And we’re not talking about your good heart) Hit the mall and get yourself some new underwear! On New Year’s Eve wear red panties to guarantee passion and love in the new year, or yellow underwear to help bring money and happiness into your life.

If you’re bold, wear both!

In many Latin American countries the underwear you wear on New Year’s Eve has a big impact on your year ahead. Yellow underwear, for example, is thought to bring good luck or fortune in the new year. Red underwear, edible or otherwise, is worn for luck in love. Likewise, in many parts of the world, wearing black on New Year’s Eve is thought to bring bad luck.

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3. Clean Your House For A Fresh Start

If you thought you could wait until the Spring to give your home a good clean…think again.

On December 31, scrub down your house and throw out any trash (yes, even those unread magazine’s you’ve been hoarding) to cleanse your home from any negativity and to attract positive energy into your life. While not many would like to spend the morning of New Year’s Eve mopping the bathroom floors, this ritual will help you get a fresh start in the new year!

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.

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4. Wear Your Underwear Inside Out Until After Midnight

 

  • Fashionistas, this one’s for you.

    For all those who laughed at you for accidentally putting on your undies inside out… well, let’s just say it’s time for you to get the last laugh. Wearing your underwear backwards on New Year’s Eve and fixing it during the first few minutes of the new year will guarantee plenty of new clothes in the new year!

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    5. Wear White For Peace And Health

    No white after labor day? Maybe just this once…

    Wearing white on New Year’s Eve is said to bring you good health and internal peace in the new year. The color is also known to absorb positive energy.

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6. Start Off On The RIGHT foot

There’s nothing like starting the year off on the right foot…literally.

As you’re counting down the final seconds of the year, making sure only your right foot is firmly on the ground can bring you good luck in the new year. If you ever see someone doing a flamingo stance just at the new year arrives, then it’s likely they are keen to this New Year’s Eve superstition.

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7. Sit And Stand. Repeat Three Times For Results

Turn those midnight chimes into wedding bells! (If you’re looking for that sort of thing).

As the new year begins, those who are looking to marry, or simply find that special someone, must sit and stand three times to get their wish fulfilled.

Unfortunately, this behavior may also scare away potential suitors around you… so keep it subtle!

 

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8. A Bright House For A Bright Year!

Flip the switch, the future is bright!

Nothing says clarity and prosperity like light, so many Latinos make it a point to welcome the new year by having all of the lights in the house on. Turn them on just minutes before the clock strikes 12, but don’t leave them on too long or the first gift in the new year will be a hefty electricity bill!

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9. Light A Candle

It’s time to set the mood…for the new year.

Candles on New Year’s Eve can help make the new year prosperous and positive. Lighting a green candle will bring you good health while a yellow candle will help your financial troubles. For those looking for some wisdom, an orange candle should be lit while a blue one will bring you peace and a red candle passion or love.

So light up the night this 31st!

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10. Money In Hand When The Clock Hits 12!

If you want to make it rain in the new year, than you might as well start the year off with some cash in hand.

Before the clock strikes twelve put your drink down and grab some bills (preferably from your own wallet). Having money in your hand at midnight is meant to ensure economic prosperity in the new year.

Keep in mind that holding a $100 bill will give you better results than a $1 bill!

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11. The Drink Of Wealth

 

  • “I’ll have my drink on the rocks…err make that with a ring.”

    For a little more financial luck in the new year simply take anything gold (like a ring) and drop it in the drink you plan to toast with.

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12. Burn The Bad

Nothing says putting the bad behind you like taking a match to it — right?

While many will be focusing on all the dreams and goals they hope to fulfill in the new year, it’s important to make sure all the bad stays in the past.

Before midnight, take some time to write everything you’d like to forget from this year and then simply burn it up. Once you’ve left the past in ashes you’ll be ready to take on the new year.