Hey, amigos! The year almost over and it’s time to plan how you are going to ring in the new one. In Mexico, people give this some very serious thought, because it is believed that whatever you are doing at midnight on New Year’s Eve determines how you will spend the entire year. I know. It’s silly, right? Or is it?
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Most people wish for health, love, and prosperity for the New Year, and Mexicans are no exception. We can go to great lengths to make sure those wishes come true!
There are lots of funny, weird, hilarious, and downright bizarre traditions that people take very seriously on New Year’s Eve. At midnight, church bells ring, fireworks explode, and Mexican people start doing whatever they think will bring them good fortune for the year.
1. Grapes of fortune
This tradition is also common in Spain and in other Latin American countries. At midnight, you are supposed to eat a grape on each of the twelve times the church bells ring. That makes one grape for every month, which you must eat in order to secure happiness for the year.
Honestly, it’s impossible to this without choking unless you have really big hamster cheeks. I always give up around the April grape and finish eating them long after the bells have stopped ringing. By the way, if you want to give this a try, just make sure you get seedless grapes!
2. Magic underwear
Ok, I must admit I do this one every year. You have to wear brightly colored underwear on New Year’s Eve to attract good luck on some aspect of your life. If you want love, wear red underwear. If you want money, wear yellow. It doesn’t matter if you wear boxer shorts, granny panties, or a thong. It’s the color that’s important!
If you must know, I have a lot of red and yellow in my underwear drawer. Does it work? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t dare spend New Year’s Eve without my red or yellow undies!
3. Sheep of prosperity
Another way to usher prosperity into your life is to get a sheep figure. It can be a ceramic sheep, or a stuffed one, or a plastic one. You can put it on the mantle, or hang it on your Christmas tree or on the door. There just has to be a sheep figure somewhere in your house by the time the New Year comes around.
They say a sheep is a symbol of prosperity, so by doing this you are basically inviting money into your home. Yes, I always have a new sheep ready for New Year’s Eve. And bright-colored undies.
4. Lucky lentil bowl
Lentils are a symbol of prosperity too, so they are usually served in some way or form on New Year’s Eve in Mexico. I know some people who start scarfing down a bowl as soon as they hear church bells ringing. Other people say you just have to put out a bowl of cooked or raw lentils somewhere, probably next to the sheep. I like lentils, so that’s not a problem. In fact, I might make a bowl of nice lentil soup for dinner this year. Yum!
5. Karma clean up
In Mexico, one of the best ways to welcome the New Year is to clean up everything. Clean your house, the car, even the dog. They say cleaning washes away the old, bad vibes and leaves your home ready to receive new blessings. Isn’t that a great idea? I do that every year too. Sort of. I try to dust off the cobwebs before December 31st rolls around. That has to count for something!
6. Take out a suitcase
If Mexican people want to travel during the year, they’ll grab a suitcase, put it by the door, and take it out for a walk at midnight as the New Year is starting. Just grab the suitcase -it doesn’t matter if it’s empty- walk out the door and take a stroll around the block. That’s supposed to bring traveling vibes to you. I’m not kidding! Well, I honestly don’t know if it works. I’ve never tried it. But that may be the reason why I don’t get to travel so much!
7. Start sweeping
Yes, I know we just finished cleaning the entire house for the New Year, but hear me out. The moment you hear the clock strike midnight, grab a broom, open the door, and start sweeping. If you want to do away with the bad vibes, sweep from the inside to the outside. If you want to bring good vibes in, sweep from the outside to the inside. Believe me, many Mexican people are truly fond of doing this, like a couple of my aunts. It also doesn’t hurt to wear the bright colored undies while you’re sweeping.
8. Throw money around
But if Mexicans really want prosperity to ring at their door, they find some loose change and a couple of bills. At midnight, they open the front door, step outside, turn around, and throw the bills into the house. Sounds crazy? It might be, but if it brings money, who cares?
You could also fill a bowl with rice, or lentils, and put some coins and bills in there. You could put the bowl next to your prosperity sheep! In fact, it’s even better if you throw some coins on the floor and sweep them into your house. That ought to do the trick!
9. Wear new clothes
I also do this every year. I go out and buy me a nice, new outfit so I can wear something brand new on New Year’s Eve. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just new. This also attracts good vibes and fortune towards you. This is one of my favorite crazy traditions. Who doesn’t love to wear new clothes?
10. Get crazy
There are tons of other wacky New Year traditions that Mexicans love. For prosperity, put a coin inside your shoe. To get a promotion, stand on a chair or a ladder. To get your crush to fall in love with you, grab a picture of him or her and tie a red ribbon around it. For happiness, throw a bucket of water out the door at midnight to wash away any sadness.
But if you’re looking for something that will really work, go the Sonora Market in Mexico City. There, you will find all kinds of mysterious amulets and remedies that ward off bad vibes and call in the good stuff. When it comes to crazy New Year traditions, Mexicans know it all!