2013 How Latino Traditions Bid Farewell to the Past & Welcome a New Year
Latinos know how to celebrate, whether it be a quinceañera, la Navidad and especially el Año Nuevo, it's a time to start anew, be grateful for your friends and family, thank God for all his blessings and to salud to health, happiness and prosperity.
It's also a time to break out the aguardiente ("fire water"), let loose, turn up the music and dance!
As they say, "Arriba, abajo, al centro y pa' dentro!" (Arriba -- glass held high; Abajo -- glass held low; Al centro -- glass held out in front and center; Pa' dentro or Adentro -- inside, or in other words, bottoms up!)
Since Latinos are some of the best at celebrating, what other Latino traditions are practiced during New Year's Eve?
- In Spain and Cuba, it's customary to eat 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight, one for good luck in each month of the New Year.
- What you're wearing under your clothes may be more important than that perfect New Year's outfit you picked out. In several Latin American countries, the underwear you wear on New Year's Eve could determine your luck in 2014. If you wear yellow underwear, it's supposed to bring good luck or fortune in the New Year. If you wear red underwear, it's supposed to make you lucky in love. On the other hand, if you wear black underwear, you may be in store for a year filled with bad luck.
- Do you want to be a jet-setter in 2014? Well, walking in a circle with a suitcase, either around your home or around the block may bring new travel adventures in the New Year.
- The start of a New Year comes with a good old-fashioned cleaning for many Latin American homes. Sweeping and cleaning ensures a fresh start to 2014.
- Throwing out a bucket of water out of your door or window is also a symbol of a new start.
- Silver is a sign of good fortune and having it close to you, as in the palm of your hand, when the clock strikes midnight may help your bank account.
- Chileans eat dishes that have lentils, which are symbolic of a prosperous new year.
According to Fusion, there are several more unique Latino New Year's Eve traditions, such as:
- In Panama and Ecuador, burning "muñecos" -- or effigies of people who played a big role in news, politics, or even one's personal life throughout the previous year -- is how some signify doing away with the old. The muñecos are displayed after Christmas and then burned in a bonfire.
- In Colorado and New Mexico, it's tradition to sing a carol called "Dando los Dias" for neighbors all through the night and into Jan. 1. The singers are supposed to end up at the home of someone named Manuel. St. Emmanuel is the patron saint of new years, and "Emmanuel" is also another name for Jesus Christ.
- In Brazil, wearing new, white underwear (or dressing completely in white) while jumping seven waves and/or placing flowers into the ocean is a way to inspire good luck and fortune.
- In Paraguay and Colombia, some will create an effigy called the "Año Nuevo," then set it afire with fireworks at midnight to ward off bad luck in the new year.
- In Mexico and other Latin American countries, it's customary to hang a wool toy lamb from your front door for good fortune.
- In Ecuador, hiding money around the house is thought to bring prosperity.