For many, New Year’s Day represents a fresh start. There’s opportunity for better luck with career goals, financial stability, love interests, lifestyle changes, and even travel efforts. In many Latin cultures, this newfound luck doesn’t just appear on its own. If you want a better year, you need to work for it. Whether it’s eating grapes as fast as you can or running around the block with a suitcase at the stroke of midnight, we can all agree that a little extra luck in 2017 wouldn’t hurt.
While every culture has its own traditions and rituals for inviting a better year, there are several crossovers. One of the most crucial aspects of the holiday season includes spending time with family, eating traditional foods and dancing. Prior to these festivities, Latins thoroughly clean their homes as to invite a clean slate in the new year.
In Colombian culture, specifically, notable rituals involve placing raw rice or lentils in your wallet or a money in a bowl to improve economic status; running around the block with a suitcase to prompt traveling opportunities; and blowing up an effigy to rid of the year’s negative energy. Additionally, Colombians believe successfully eating 12 grapes in the last 12 seconds of the year rewards 12 wishes. During New Year’s festivities, Colombians wear all new clothes, including underwear, to bring in the New Year. There is a superstition that the color of one’s underwear or pants signify what they will have the most luck with in the New Year. For example, yellow signifies more money, while red is love.
Dominican culture similarly believes the color of wardrobe signifies what a person will be rewarded for in the new year. However, it differs from Colombian culture in that Dominicans burn incents, hang 12 grapes inside, and toss out old brooms to symbolize better luck.
Puerto Ricans believe throwing a bucket of water out a doorway or window rids the prior year’s negative energy and sprinkling sugar outside the house invites the positive. For those interested in traveling more in the new year, leaving a suitcase by the door or outside can better chances. At the stroke of midnight, Boriqueños celebrate the New Year by lighting sparklers, toasting drinks and eating 12 grapes.
Sidra is a Spanish hard cider that many Cubans guzzle down in the first minute of the New Year. Like Puerto Ricans, Cubans also throw a bucket of dirty water out the doorway and place suitcases by the door. In attempt to improve financial status, Cubanos place cash in an envelope and leave it in the mailbox until after the stroke of midnight.
No matter the culture, it’s evident Latinos across the Greater-Rochester area will be actively searching for better luck in 2017. If you could use a little extra luck, be sure to give these rituals a try. You never know what might happen.
Happy New Year, from us at Poder 97.1 FM!