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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.