Things That Matter

How Many of These International New Year’s Eve Customs Will You Try When You Ring In 2020?

We are literally days away from the end of 2019 and the close of this decade which calls for a larger than usual New Year’s Eve celebration. So, we’re going global with our festivities and looking at ways the rest of the world celebrates the beginning of a new year. Specifically, we wanted to take a closer look at how the countries of the Latinidad observe the worldwide event that comes on December 31st, 2019. 

From Mexico to Brasil, each place has its own unique customs meant to bring good luck, love, travel and money to the observer in the coming months. Take a peak at how New Year’s Eve traditions are done in Latin American countries and its citizens around the world. 

1. Wearing white.

Instagram / @natalinkax01

The color white has always been associated with a fresh start so what better color to signify the new year. In countries like Brasil, wearing white underwear or dressing completely in white is considered good luck. Wearing white while jumping seven waves in the sea and/or placing flowers into the ocean is also thought to inspire fortune with New Year’s Eve celebrators.

2. Eating lentils.

Instagram / @simmertoslimmer

Many New Year’s Eve traditions focus around food that is meant to give the eater some sort of luck and this one is no exception. In Chile, celebrators eat cooked lentils when the clock strikes midnight in order to ensure a prosperous new year. This custom comes from a Roman tradition. Back in the days of ancient Rome, lentils were thought to look like Roman coins so eating them at New Year’s Eve was believed to offer good financial luck. Our money looks a lot different now but here’s hoping that the magic still works.  

3. Hanging up a toy lamb.

Instagram / @kreativation_net

This adorable tradition finds its origins from a play on words. In Mexico and parts of Latin America, it’s customary to hang up a small wool lamb toy at the front door of one’s home so you’ll be blessed financially all year. Called “borreguitos de lana,” the phrase has a double meaning. “Lana” means “wool” and is also slang for money so hopefully your sheep’s lana will bring you plenty of lana in the new year.

4. Sweeping out the old.

Instagram / @papermoonys

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Out with the old and in with the new?” This actually comes from a New Year’s Eve custom observed by many cultures around the world. For instance, the Danish and Japanese people spend the day cleaning so they can enter the new year with a fresh home and a fresh theoretical state. As such, many Latin American countries practice the same by cleaning their houses and sweeping out the old for a fresh start.

5. Dumping a bucket of water out of the window or door.

Instagram / @cookiehumper

In Cuba, the New Year’s Eve tradition is to dump a bucket of water out of the door or window of your home. However, we aren’t talking about just any bucket of water. Remember that cleaning we mentioned? This water is supposed to represent all the bad energy that has been sent your way over the past year. That energy that you’ve collected and cleaned out of your house is now in that dirty water. What could be more satisfying than throwing it out and being rid of it once and for all?

6. Chilling with the Ancestors in a graveyard

Instagram / @dn_urbex

The Latinidad has many customs related to the celebration of death and this is another beautiful one. In Chile, New Year’s Eve merrymakers spend the night at the graveyards where their loved ones have been laid to rest. They bring candles, music, food, wine and fireworks in order to pay tribute to those who have left and acknowledge the coming years.

7. Hiding money around the home.

Instagram / @what_nasty

You might hide money away from yourself throughout the year but, during New Year’s Eve, Ecuadorians believe hiding it on this day will bring you great prosperity. We guess the real luck here is that whoever gets to find the hidden money, gets to keep it in the end.

8. A snack of 12 grapes.

Instagram / @katecauffiel 

The new year is a good time to make wishes for what you’d like to see happen in the future. In Mexico and in several parts of Latin America, there’s a tradition that involves making a wish for each toll of the clock as it strikes midnight. In order to keep track of the wishes, eat a grape with each desire until you’ve devoured all 12. That way, you’re full of hope and a healthy snack!

9. Take a trip around the block. 

Instagram / @tingmystyle

For some, travel is what they most want out of the next year. Colombians are so eager to make this New Year’s wish happen that they have their own tradition for it. When the clock strikes midnight, they run around the block with an empty suitcase in hopes of a travel-filled year.

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Photo Of Volcanic Ash In The Shape Of La Calavera Catrina Is Going Viral


Photo Of Volcanic Ash In The Shape Of La Calavera Catrina Is Going Viral

@essmealvarez / Twitter / Public Domain

Latinos are nothing if not superstitious. We see signs everywhere and quickly believe anything our abuelas tell us. The latest manifestation that is catching everyone’s attention is the image of La Calavera Catrina in volcanic ash. The volcano erupted in Mexico and the shape of the ash is honestly impressive.

The Popocatepetl volcano in Mexico put on a special show recently.

A resident living near the volcano captured a photo that showed the volcanic ash creating that face of La Calavera Catrina. La Calavera Catrina is one of the most famous symbols of the Day of the Dead celebrations. It is really easy to see the shape taking form in the volcanic ash that is rising over the city.

Naturally, the image is making its way around the world via social media.

Social media is good for sharing things like this far and wide. The internet loves a volcano eruption and Latinos love a superstitious or traditional sightings. This is obviously heightened in 2020 when travel is impossible and omens are literally everywhere.

People are using the natural phenomenon to educate people about La Catrina.

La Calavera Catrina was not always associated with Día de los Muertos. It was originally drawn by artist José Guadalupe Posada as satire to call out Mexicans striving to be European. The description for La Calavera Catrina included the word garbancera, which was a name given to Mexicans who rejected their indigenous backgrounds. The description further calls attention to the Mexican women who, like La Catrina, wore big hats and used so much makeup that their faces looked whiter and whiter.

Over the years, La Catrina became a symbol for Día de los Muertos.

Over many years, Posada’s image has become a major part of the Día de los Muertos celebrations throughout Mexico. La Catrina was always known after her creation, however, it was Diego Rivera who made her famous. The artist created a mural in the historic center of Mexico City across from Alameda.

Rivera added the body and dress to Posada’s original creation. La Catrina stands between Rivera and Posada in the mural that was painted between 1946 and 1947.

The history lesson is a welcomed accompaniment to the stunning natural phenomenon.

Who doesn’t like to see pieces of our history shared far and wide? The history of La Catrina is another moment to dispel the myths and misconceptions people have of Mexican and Latino culture.

READ: ‘La Calavera Catrina’ Is Getting Her Own Parade For ‘Día De Muertos’ In Mexico City This Year And We Have All The Deets

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Latinas Talk About Their Fave Dance Craze


Latinas Talk About Their Fave Dance Craze

Lawrence Manning

There’s no denying the fact that dance has a pretty firm place in the hearts of just about every Latin American culture. Across our countries and cultures, and thanks to native and Afro roots, Latin Americans know how to toe step and grind better than the rest of them. From salsa and bachata to danzón and merengue dance has permeated our lives making parties, ceremonies, and even sad occasions some of the most memorable and colorful.

As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we turned to Latinas to ask about their favorite dances from their cultures and how it has made their life better.

We posed the question “Latin America consists of many different cultural dances. What can you say about the ones from your país? We will be featuring your answers on one of our editorial pieces.⁠”

Check out the answers below!

“CUMBIA! And Joe Arroyo so beautiful said, ‘del Indio tiene la fuerza, y el Negro la fortaleza, que le imprime el movimiento.’”- lauraarendonn

“Ritmos africanos combinados con tambores pre-colombinos y la flambuya y elegancia de los gitanos y corte española. Mi herencia cultural es un sabroso pozole.”- mercedesmelugutierrez

“Chamamé, vanera… – Southern Brazil. Super important to the gaucho culture that southern Brazil shares with argentina and uruguay.”-

“El baile de los viejitos, Michoacán, México.”- angelyly_

“Punta!! Like ‘Sopa de Caracol.’”- laura_gamez27

“Samba — originated in Brazil from men and women ( mostly from West African region) that were enslaved by Portugal — and brought to Brazil.”- la_licorne_en_velours_

“BOMBA!!! A style of dance in Puerto Rico heavily influenced by our African roots.”-xosamanthaotero

“Festejo… “- jesthefania

“Danza.”- karifornialove

“Cueca from Chile.”- calisunchine

“Huapango Arribeño- San Luis Potosí, Mexico.”-hijxsdetonatiuh

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