7 New Year’s Traditions from Latin America

Lead Photo: Photo by FG Trade / Getty Images
Photo by FG Trade / Getty Images
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Latines never rest during the clock chimes at midnight as these seconds become an obstacle course where no one leaves the fate of the coming year to luck. But don’t misunderstand, it is not taken as a heavy task and the Latine joy doesn’t disappear while fulfilling all the New Year’s traditions that include a few superstitions.

It’s possible to complete these New Year’s traditions all at midnight — in many Latine homes you can witness how all these rituals are masterfully performed in a coordinated way, like a symphony; you just need to plan ahead. Thus, if you want to join the fun and secure prosperity, travel, love, money, and health, you should follow the steps we put together to manifest a successful 2024.


Prosperity: Clothes and food

The key is in the color of the underwear you choose — yellow is for prosperity and is a popular choice in countries like Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, and Ecuador. As for food, in Peru, they drink hot chocolate to guarantee an abundance of meals. But the most common thing throughout Latin America is to eat a few spoonfuls of lentils at midnight.


Love: Red Underwear and Other Tricks

If all you need is love, red underwear is key. However, if you’re in Argentina or Uruguay, pink it is. Singles in different parts of Latin America take these traditions very seriously if they want to find a partner. Some people even believe that sitting down and standing up three times in a row at midnight can speed up the process.


Renewal: Fire and Water

Fire and water are elements of purification. In countries like Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Nicaragua, and Panama, they burn dolls in the streets to leave behind the bad experiences of the previous year. But if you want something simpler, throw water out the window of your house at midnight; this ritual, common in Cuba and Uruguay, has the same purifying effect of energies.


Good luck: Cleaning Up

Receiving the year with an organized house is essential, with some Latine people grabbing a broom right at midnight to clean the doors of their homes. However, for many Nicaraguans and Brazilians, this means welcoming the year at the beach. But if you prefer not to spend midnight there, you can leave your energetic cleansing with sea water for the morning of the first day of January like some Venezuelans.


Success: Make Wishes with Grapes

Step one: buy seedless grapes. Step two: place twelve grapes in a glass or cup, have them ready before midnight. In the last step, you just have to eat them: one for each chime, one wish for each grape. The best thing is that you get the chance to wish for your health, work, love, prosperity and anything else on your mind.


Money: Attract Abundance

For money, hold bills in your right hand before twelve o’clock. Latines think that the bigger the bill, the greater the prosperity, so go to the ATM and don’t skimp. You can also keep money in your pocket or shoes to avoid having an empty wallet next year. But if you’re feeling adventurous like the Ecuadorians, hide coins and bills all over the house.


Travel: Take Your Suitcase Out for a Walk

Ask any Latine about this ritual and they’ll tell you it’s effective. This particularly popular tradition among Venezuelans, Chileans, and Puerto Ricans is not complicated. Just take your luggage and go for a walk around the block — right after eating your grapes and lentils. Keep in mind the popular wisdom: the longer the walk, the farther you will travel.