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Little-known rituals to welcome the New Year in Latin America

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Image source, Getty Images


In the New Year everyone expects health, happiness and joy.

How does Latin America celebrate the arrival of the New Year?

Each country has different ways of celebrating the old year and welcoming the new year. In popular imagination, it is a ritual that helps to close one loop and start another loop on the right foot.

Some of them are similar to each other with one or another variation depending on the country.

Others are standardized throughout the region based on the traditions of other countries.

Some such rituals are well known Famous 12 grapes Swallow a wish for every stroke at midnight.

They are too They put a bill in their pocket or put a coin in their shoe So there will be no shortage of money in the coming year.

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Twelve grapes with a hint of midnight is a tradition that has spread throughout Latin America.

And there is no one who misses the giver Walk around the block with a suitcase To ensure a minimum year of trips. There are also those who perform this ritual with their passport in hand.

Whether known or not, or similar or different, all of these rituals have one thing in common: Try to start the new year with prosperity. There are those who ask for money, the health of others, or the love they long for; And others who do it for fun or “on occasion”.

Which of these rituals is not well known?

Throwing water out the window …

Water is a powerful catalyst for change and renewal. But in some countries you have to be careful not to get a bucket of water on your head if you walk down the street on the last day of the year.

Celebrated in Uruguay “El Baltaso”, which throws a bucket full of water out the window into the street. This tradition is said to ward off the sorrows of the year ending and to welcome someone who is prosperous.

Since Southern Horn is summer, many people do not take it too seriously and see it as a sport (or something annoying depending on who is throwing or getting the water).

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If you are in Uruguay, be careful with “El Baltaso”.

In Cuba something like this is called “Cubaso”, As in Uruguay, involves throwing a bucket of water through windows and balconies. It has two purposes: to cleanse the energy and to make fun of the neighbor.

… and papers

Another variation of water is to throw papers out the windows. This is also the case in Uruguay Throw away old calendars (Or Almanacs) already broken or burned.

This may be due to the tradition of removing everything old to make room for new items that the new year will bring.

They do not have to be calendars. In some countries they tend to clean the house thoroughly as a cleaning process, whether it is shoes you no longer use or you do not need.

Elsewhere the house sweepers make sure the dust comes out from inside through the door. But make sure to clean every corner as deeply as possible so that the energies of the old year do not stay in the house.

Annual burns and “widows”

Like water, fire is an element, i.e. renewal or purification.

In many Latin American countries, Burn a toy or toy Made from flammable materials such as paper, sawdust and old clothes.

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Toys are burned in many countries.

In Ecuador, “old year burning” is popular, consisting of burning a toy that originated in colonial times. It refers to a famous person, real or imagined, like a politician or the protagonist of a movie.

Along with this tradition “Widows”, Men dressed as women wearing exaggerated make-up and wigs, as they walk through the “crying” traffic for the “old man” they ask for a collection that can then be used for dinner.

Just minutes before midnight, in the midst of the widows’ cries of pain, a will prepared with a lot of humor and satire is read. People celebrate by performing other rituals such as the Twelve Grapes and the Suitcase Ride.

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The practice of burning toys has spread to Nicaragua (also known as “El Vizo”), Colombia, Peru, Mexico and parts of Venezuela and Argentina.

Another variation in practice in many countries is, quite simply, to write several greetings for the New Year (usually three) on a piece of paper or write the bad of the old year and burn it at midnight. Respective precautions.

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Want to get rid of the clutter of the old year? Write it on a piece of paper and burn it.

Lentils, but not just to eat

Eat lentils if you want good luck. It is believed that this diet signifies not only good health but also good luck.

There are those who do not control themselves only in eating them. There are also seekers Usually place lentils where there is money, Such as pockets for clothes or wallets.

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There are those who hold a handful of lentils in their hands and hug their loved ones and wish them a Happy New Year or place these beans in the corners of the house so that luck will come home.

This practice applies not only to pulses but also to various grains such as rice. They are placed on a plate with a candle on the night of the 31st Then they are buried.

Many believe that lentils are reminiscent of ancient Roman coins, which is why they are so common in Italy.

Although for luck and money people do not trust only a handful of lentils or rice nearby.

There are those who are accustomed to Mexico Give the sheep Considering that it is an animal that brings happiness (not in vain, Mexicans informally refer to money as “wool”).

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In Costa Rica, people usually carry a branch of Santa Lucia, a plant with purple flowers that is believed to bring good luck. It is kept in wallets and bags so that there is no shortage of money.

What will the weather be like?

If you are in Mexico or Colombia, you may know what cabanulas are called temporoz in some parts of Spain.

There are those who insist that there is no scientific rigor in this method. But that does not stop us from using the last day of the year or January 1st to see what the weather will be like in the next 12 months and even to plan accordingly.

The pattern is as follows: The first twelve days of January represent a month in ascending order (January 1 marks January, January 2 marks February, January 3 marks March and so on). January 13 to 24 is the same but upside down (January 13 December, January 14 November, etc.).

From January 25th to the 30th, each day represents two months in ascending order (January 25 marks midnight to noon January, and January 25 marks noon to midnight February).

Finally on the 31st, every two-hour extension marks a month in a downward direction (midnight to 02:00 am to December, 02:00 to 04:00 to November, etc.).

You can not miss in Peru and Bolivia Ego, A figure a few centimeters long represents a man in the usual attire of the Andean highlands.

Although the worship of this character is not limited to the New Year, people take the presence of this Aymara deity as a great opportunity.

Image source, Getty Images


Echo refers to the abundance.

The ekeko is said to be loaded with numerous bundles filled with food and necessities. If you take good care of it, it will bring abundance and happiness.

But beware, because if neglected or abandoned, Echo can turn things around and bring misfortune.

The care of this talisman at the end of the year coincides with the fact that the Alasita Exhibition is celebrated in January, a traditional festival in which Echo is a central figure.


In some Central American countries it is customary to break an egg and put it in a glass of water. There are those who throw it out the window or put it under the bed overnight on December 31st.

The shape of the egg is said to be in the New Year.

The epidemic left us

It is known that the most important factor to take into account is the clothes you wear when the bell rings at 12 o’clock at night.

In countries like Venezuela it is called “bringing the premier” or “putting the primer” on the latest outfits. The idea is that you can not catch yourself wearing New Year’s old clothes.

Image source, Getty Images

Color is also important. Yellow for money (many insist it should be underwear), red for mate seekers and white for good energy.

But modern times require modern solutions, and there are those who wear masks of these colors and replace old ways with new ones.

Image source, Getty Images

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