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.

Does Anybody Really Know What’s Supposed To Happen After You Get The Baby Jesus Figurine In La Rosca De Reyes?


Does Anybody Really Know What’s Supposed To Happen After You Get The Baby Jesus Figurine In La Rosca De Reyes?

alejandro.munoz.p / Instagram

Remember Día de Reyes when everyone cuts the rosca and hopes to god not to get the little niño Jesus? If you grew up Mexican, you probably know that whoever gets the baby Jesus figurine owes everyone tamales. But when is the tamal party? And most importantly—why? Keep reading to find out what El Día de la Candelaria means, what your abuelitas and tías are actually celebrating and how it originated —spoiler alert: it’s colonization.

February 2nd may be Groundhog Day in the United States, but in Mexico, and for many Latinos outside of Mexico, there is a completely different celebration on this date.

The religious holiday is known as Día de la Candelaria (or Candlemas in English). And on this day of the year, people get together with family and friends to eat tamales, as a continuation of the festivities of Three Kings’ Day on January 6. 

This is why your abuelita dresses up her niño Jesús in extravagant outfits.

For Día de la Candelaria it’s customary for celebrants to dress up figures of the Christ Child in special outfits and take them to the church to be blessed. Día de la Candelaria is traditionally a religious and family celebration, but in some places, such as Tlacotalpan, in the state of Veracruz, it is a major fiesta with fairs and parades.

February 2nd is exactly forty days after Christmas and is celebrated by the Catholic church as the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin.

Alternatively, this day also counts as the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. The origin of this religious feast day comes from ancient Jewish tradition. According to Jewish law, a woman was considered unclean for 40 days after giving birth, and it was customary to bring a baby to the temple after that period of time had passed. So the idea is that Mary and Joseph would have taken Jesus to the temple to be blessed on February second, forty days after his birth on December 25.

The tradition goes back to around the 11th Century in Europe.

People typically took candles to the church to be blessed as part of the celebration. This tradition was based on the biblical passage of Luke 2:22-39 which recounts how when Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple, a particularly devout man named Simeon embraced the child and prayed the Canticle of Simeon: “Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” The reference to the light inspired the celebration of the blessing of the candles.

In Mexico Día de la Candelaria is a follow-up to the festivities of Three Kings Day on January 6th.

On Día De Reyes, when children receive gifts, families and friends gather together to eat Rosca de Reyes, a special sweet bread with figurines of a baby (representing the Child Jesus) hidden inside. The person (or people) who received the figurines on Three Kings Day are supposed to host the party on Candlemas Day. Tamales are the food of choice.

This tradition also carries Pre-Hispanic roots.

After the Spanish conquistadors introduced the Catholic religion and masked indigenous traditions with their own, to help spread evangelization, many villagers picked up the tradition of taking their corn to the church in order to get their crops blessed after planting their seeds for the new agricultural cycle that was starting. They did this on February 2, which was the eleventh day of the first month on the Aztec calendar —which coincidentally fell on the same day as the Candelaria celebration. It’s believed that this is why, to this day, the celebratory feast on February 2 is all corn-based —atole and tamales.

This date is special for other reasons too… 

February 2, marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, which aligns with the pagan holiday of Imbolc. Since ancient times, this date was thought to be a marker or predictor of the weather to come, which is why it is also celebrated as Groundhog Day in the United States. There was an old English saying that went “if Candlemas be fair and bright, Winter has another flight. If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Winter will not come again.” In many places, this is traditionally seen as the best time to prepare the earth for spring planting.

In Perú the Fiesta de la Candelaria is a festival in honor of the Virgin of Candelaria, patron saint of the city of Puno and it is one of the biggest festivals of culture, music, and dancing in the country.

The huge festival brings together the Catholic faith and Andean religion in homage to the Virgin of Candelaria. The Virgin represents fertility and purity. She is the patron saint of the city and is strongly associated with the Andean deity of ‘Pachamama’ (‘mother earth’). It is this common factor of both religions that brings them together for the festival. In 2014, UNESCO declared the festival an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The main dates of ‘Fiesta de la Candelaria’ are February 2nd – 12th.

A Woman Threw A Lowrider-Themed Party For Her Son’s First Birthday And It’s Just Too Much For Our Hearts


A Woman Threw A Lowrider-Themed Party For Her Son’s First Birthday And It’s Just Too Much For Our Hearts

When it comes to maintaining and seeing our Latinidad flourish, instilling a sense of pride, excitement, and curiosity in our younger generations is key. Particularly when it comes to the past. One Twitter user’s recent birthday celebrations for her son, emphasized just how much teaching the old to the new is vital.

Way back before Twitter user @whoissd’s son Silas Cash C turned 1 year old, living in Southern California crafted a car style called “lowrider” that expressed pride in their culture and presence in the states. While the brightly painted, lowriding automobiles that were outfitted with special hydraulics that made them bounce up and down saw a peak in the 1970s, they remain a big part of Chicano culture, particularly in Los Angeles.

@whoissd’s son Silas is proving that he’ll be part of a generation that will not let the culture die out recently when he celebrated his first full year with a theme that was little more unique and closer to his family’s hearts.

For her son, Silas Cash’s, first birthday, SD threw an authentic lowrider party — complete with the recognizable cruisers in attendance.

Twitter / @whoissd

On July 27, SD shared pics of the big event with her Twitter followers. The post showed baby Silas Cash cruising in his own pint-sized orange lowrider. The party came complete with several lowriders and classic cars in attendance for party-goers to check out. Since posting the adorable pics on Twitter, the message has received more than 22.5k retweets and over 138k likes.

According to SD, Silas Cash developed a fascination with lowriders because of his dad. In an email to REMEZCLA, the mom explained the connection.

“[My son’s dad] started restoring two cars to continue a bond that he had shared with his own father throughout his childhood and it’s now something that the has been introduced to our son. The lowrider culture represents family, unity, and respect to us. It really is a beautiful thing.”

The one-year old’s mini lowrider had to be specially made in Japan just for his birthday party.

Twitter / @whoissd

Silas Cash’s mom explained the decision to have the tiny lowrider made for her kiddo.

“We originally thought about getting Silas his own lowrider because of the immediate attraction he has to his dad’s Impala. With enough searching, we were able to find someone who custom makes remote-controlled pedal cars, and we were sold… Silas and his dad have matching orange ’63 Impalas with the same candy paint hardtops to match.”

Twitter was quick to react to the simply adorable party and they couldn’t stop gushing over it.

Twitter / @cali_kalypso

As this tweet points out, this party is so authentically LA. Lowrider culture started in the streets of California in the mid-to-late 1940s and the post-war ’50s. Chicano youth would lower their car’s blocks, cut spring coils and alter auto frames in order to get the lowest and slowest ride possible. Back then, this was an act of rebellion against the Anglo authorities who suppressed Mexican-American culture.

This Snoop Dog meme says it all.

Twitter / @marissaa_cruzz

We’ve seen this meme make its rounds on the internet our fair share of times but this time it 100% applies. These pics of Baby Silas Cash and his mama are some of the cutest we’ve ever seen. The added bonus of the mini Impala makes this post almost too cute to handle.

A reminder that this little man is officially the coolest kid on the block.

Twitter / @devyn_the_lame

We can just see Baby Silas Cash pulling up to the playground in this custom low rider peddle cart and being the envy of all the other rugrats. There’s no doubt that he is the most chill kiddo at daycare.

*”Lowrider” plays in the distance*

Twitter / @JGar1105

We’re getting major “The George Lopez Show” flashbacks with all this lowrider talk. Don’t you think Silas Cash needs his own theme song? Obviously, there’s only one that is cool enough for the littlest lowrider.

Other tweets pointed out that it takes a fiercely cool mom to pull off this sort of party.

Twitter / @ismokemaryjuana

We’ve got to respect SD’s mom game. She really took her vision and went for it, resulting in a fun, unique and memorable party that her guests will never forget. Great job, mom; we hope Silas Cash grows up to realize how awesome his parents are.