What Are You Doing for New Year’s Eve? Here Are 5 Latino Traditions

Chances are that if you are Hispanic, it may include incorporating some of these five peculiar New Year’s Eve traditions


Chances are that if you are Hispanic, it may include incorporating some peculiar New Year’s Eve traditions that are said to bring you much luck in the New Year. And thanks to my immigrant parents from Mexico, I had a chance to experience many of these interesting traditions first-hand.

Here are just a few I can remember, but feel free to add more to this list:

1.  Twelve Grapes:

No New Year’s Eve celebration is complete without eating twelve individual grapes to ring in the New Year. Tradition holds that one is to make a wish for every month of the year.

2.  Eating Lentils:

Like grapes, eating lentil soup is supposed to bring you lots of good luck in the New Year. But unlike grapes, there isn’t a specified amount of lentils one needs to consume.

3.  Wearing Red Underwear:

Yes, bet you didn’t know that what you wear is almost as important as what you eat on New Year’s Eve in Latin America and Hispanic culture.

4.  Walking Around with a Suitcase:

Want to travel in the New Year? – Then find that suitcase from the closet and walk around the house with it so that the New Year is filled with many trips to fun and exotic locations.

5.  Dumping Out a Bucket of Water:

This one was always my family’s favorite because it is so funny. My sisters and I have fond memories of seeing my parents run out of our apartment to dump a bucket of water in the streets of New York City once the clock struck midnight.

Here are some other Latin American New Year’s Eve traditions I learned about while researching Latino traditions for this article:

  • Handing out some silver
  • Using Fireworks to burn an effigy
  • Hanging up a lamb
  • A good sweep
  • Firing off a rifle
  • Stashing cash around the house

Next- Here is one that is not for the faint of heart.

Israel Ortega
Israel Ortega
Israel Ortega serves as The Heritage Foundation's chief spokesman to Spanish-language news media, including print, radio, television and online. And as editor of Heritage's sister website, Libertad (libertad.org), Ortega is responsible both for the content and for marketing it to a variety of audiences, including media, coalitions and legislators. Ortega regularly contributes commentary to prominent Spanish-language newspapers and online publications. He is a frequent guest commentator on major Spanish radio and television outlets, including Univision, Telemundo and CNN International discussing Heritage’s research and analysis across a range of policy fronts. Ortega writes a monthly column for El Diario La Prensa, the largest and oldest Spanish-language publication in New York City. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal as well as digital venues such as National Review Online, Real Clear Politics, the Daily Caller, the Huffington Post, NBC Latino, Fox News Latino and Latin Business Today.

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