New Year’s Eve Latin American Traditions


Happy New Year!When it comes to New Year’s Eve, many people think about a party, but people from Latin America have some special traditions and rituals they perform to welcome the New Year.

Eating twelve grapes

One of the most common traditions in all Latin American countries is eating 12 grapes, each one represents one month of the year and is a symbol of good luck for each month.

Picking the right underwear

Picking the color of the underwear you use for New Year’s has huge impact on the year ahead. Each color has its own meaning. The most common ones are yellow, which bring good luck and fortune. Red underwear is worn for luck in love. White underwear represents a peaceful year. It is also said that wearing black underwear on New Year’s will bring you bad luck for the rest of the year.

Walking around the block with a suitcase

If you are planning on traveling in this new coming year, just grab a suitcase and take a walk around the block with it and this will bring opportunities for travel and leisure in the New Year. It sounds like something only a madman will do, but don’t be surprised if you are spending New Years in Latin America and you see people walking around with a suitcase on December 31st.

Burning “Año Viejos” at midnight

One of Latin America’s most colorful and bizarre traditions is the year-end burning of the dummies. These dummies are called “Año Viejos” and are a representation of the bad memories of the past year. They are built and shaped as famous people or characters, like politicians, TV personalities or movie characters and the people in Ecuador burn them at midnight receiving the New Year with new hopes of change and leaving behind whatever happened the previous year.  This tradition is an important part of the Ecuadorian culture.


Submitted by Joel Ceballos


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