Looking for love, good fortune, renewal or prosperity in the New Year? Read on for the unique rituals Mexicans use to attract all these and more. From the amazing food to the rituals they perform, we are sharing some of our favourite Mexican New Year’s Eve traditions and fun facts.
1. New Year’s Eve Is Called Nochevieja
Translated Nochevieja means “old night” and the celebration focusses on saying goodbye to the old.
2. Dinner Must Include Bacalao
Most important on our list of Mexican New Year’s Eve traditions is the food! The night before the New Year, on 31st December, it’s traditional to have a big dinner. The family will gather together to enjoy a big meal. Among the must-eat dishes, the most important is Bacalao, which is a dried salted codfish, cooked with tomatoes and olives. There can’t be a New Year’s Eve dinner without Bacalao. The recipe is called Bacalao a la Vizcaino and it originally comes from Spain.
In the state of Oaxaca, one traditional dish for New Year’s Eve is a special crispy fritter called Buñuelos. It must be served on a ceramic dish and will be smashed on the floor after the sweets are eaten. It symbolically represents a rupture with a possibly undesired past.
4. Other Dishes
Other Mexican dishes that are consumed on New Year’s Eve include, Ensalada de Noche Buena (a rich salad), tamales, romeritos (a green leafy vegetable), pozole (pork/chicken soup), stuffed pork loin and turkey. And, of course, the famous mole sauces from Puebla.
5. Eating Grapes
Next on our list of Mexican New Year’s Eve traditions and one of the most well known is to eat grapes for a good omen. There is a special way to do it otherwise it doesn’t work. You must eat 12 grapes – one for each month. Why do that? Because it is believed that it will bring good vibes and luck every month. However, if you want to do it properly, you should set an intention for every month, and every grape, and focus on it while eating each grape, and you must do it in 60 seconds. Together with the grapes, which are also eaten as a dessert, another popular one is the Pan Dulce. (Hint: eat seedless grapes). A sweet grape means it will be a good month next year; a sour grape, a bad month.
6. Drink Champagne With A Ring In It
Another prosperity booster is to drink champagne with a ring in the glass. It is said this will assure abundance in money and love for the coming new year. In order for the trick to work, however, you will need to finish the drink and hug someone in the room while wishing them a “happy new year” before taking out the ring.
7. Wear New Pants!
Another of our favourite Mexican New Year’s Eve traditions is wearing new pants. They need to be yellow if you would like to attract happiness and prosperity. Choose red if you would like to attract love and passion. Green for health and well-being, pink for true love and friendship and white for hope and peace. Never wear black clothing.
8. For Those Who Love To Travel
Should you wish to travel in the New Year, at midnight toss a few clothes in a suitcase and do some rounds around the house or in the neighbourhood. Another option is to gather the suitcases in the centre of a room, and walk around them several times. This is a proven ritual that will bring lots of travelling for the following year.
Who doesn’t want more money? One ritual that is considered effective to favour prosperity is by throwing some coins out of the door and sweeping them back into the house. However, there must be 12 (one for each month) in order for the trick to work.
These cannot be missed during New Year’s Eve celebrations. They not only make a spectacular show, to marvel at, but they also have a special meaning. The noise and lights are supposed to scare away evil spirits and negative intentions, allowing safe passage into the New Year. These amazing performances are best viewed from a beautiful beach.
11. Make Your Wish Come True!
On a piece of paper, write your wishes for the upcoming year and place them on top of the table. Burn the paper when that wish comes true.
12. Bring Good Luck
Display a rimmed tray with a candle in the centre, and ask family and friends to deposit change into the tray, filling it with water afterwards for good luck.
Or for prosperity, place a few candles on a white plate surrounded by lentils, beans, rice, corn, flour and a cinnamon stick to spice things up. Allow the candles to burn all night until melted; then peel the waxy food mixture off of the plate and bury it for abundance and for food to always be on your table.
13. For Fortune
Eat a tablespoon of cooked lentils, or give a handful of raw lentils to family and friends for good fortune.
14. Bring New Good Vibes
Finally on our list of Mexican New Year’s Eve traditions is cleaning. Clean the house; take a bath, or wash the pets and cars on New Year’s Eve for renewal. Mop the house with cinnamon water. Heat the water with cinnamon sticks as if you were making tea. Burn incense before midnight. Sweep the negativity out from inside outwards – take a broom and sweep the floor focusing on the intention to sweep all of the negativity and bad vibes out to leave a clean space to welcome the good vibes.
Another way is to throw a bucket of water out the window for renewal at midnight.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Mexico’s New Year’s Eve traditions. Which one will you be trying out?! A very Happy New Year from all of us at Gran Luchito!