New Year’s eve traditions in the Americas, Spain and Italy

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In Argentina:
It is traditional to make a cider or champagne toast, wishing for a happy new year, with the family before a table filled with abundant good food like pork, beef, poultry and nuts.

In recent years it became common for women to use for the first time the  ‘pink panties’ they received from ‘Santa Claus’ for Christmas.

In the neighborhoods, they usually gather at the front door for light up some fireworks and a toast shared with neighbors. Just after midnight it  is very common to go to nightclubs or bars.

Many descendants of Spanish families follow the tradition of the twelve grapes, one for each chime of the clock, especially  in Buenos Aires.

In Chile:

Chile adopted the tradition of eating lentils and in some places, when the fireworks begin, Chileans shake and then open a bottle of champagne with the family.

Other  common traditions are:
Wear yellow underwear that night to attract mates during the year.
Go arround the block with a suitcase to ensure travel in the coming year.
Also, they put a ring inside the glass of champagne for having money.
The first person you hug at midnight, must be of the opposite sex to get lucky in love.

In Colombia:

Families regularly gather listening to music on the radio, waiting for the message that the year is over.
On the Caribbean coast is very common to hear the salsa version of “Missing Five for midnight” and the song “New Year” of “Billo’s Caracas Boys”.

When the clock marks midnight, everyone greets, hugs, giving good wishes and then to the streets to greet neighbors and friends.

Either before or after the greetings, everyone eats twelve grapes having in mind twelve goals for the coming year.

Subsequently, some people grab bags and walk down the street with them, also, usual wear yellow underwear for good luck.

There is also the habit, especially in poor neighborhoods, to prepare an effigy of a person which represents the old year. It is commonly known as ‘Ano Viejo’. The figure is covered with clothing and tied with fireworks. The burning of the effigy is considered holy for the year ahead.

Ecuador and Peru:
In Peru, they adopted the Spanish tradition of the twelve grapes.
Unlike in Spain, the underwear to wear should be yellow and backwards.

In Ecuador, writuals are performed for the health, wealth, prosperity and protection of each member. These rituals are the following: Twelve grapes: Each person eats twelve grapes before midnight, making a wish with each grape.

Yellow underwear: One of the most popular traditions, yellow underwear are said to attract positive energies for the New Year.

Suitcase: Walking around the block with the suitcase will bring the person the journey of their dreams.

Mexicans down a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the bell during the New Year countdown, while making a wish with each one. On New Year’s Eve, those who want to find love in the new year wear red underwear and yellow if they want money.[7]

Other traditions include sweeping the dirt out, taking luggage outside as a symbol of future trips, hanging sheep dolls (mainly made out of wool) in the doorknob for prosperity, among others.

The celebrations are very similar to those of Spain.

They make dolls out of old clothes.

The New Year Traditions in Venezuela are quite similar to various South American countries and Spain. The traditions emphasize on bringing good luck for the forthcoming New Year. Some popular Venezuelan New Year traditions include wearing red underwear on New Year’s Eve. Venezuelans believe it will bring love in the coming year.

If someone is looking for money, he or she must have a high value bill. Another New Year tradition in Venezuela is to carry some luggage out of the house. To bring happiness in the New Year, people wear yellow underwear.

There are radio specials which people listen to for the countdown and announcing the New Year. In Caracas, the twelve bells from the Cathedral of Caracas are rung traditionally at midnight.

Another of the New Year traditions in Venezuela is writing wishes on paper and burning them so they are fulfilled.


Families usually gather in their homes to tell stories that occurred in the year and also tend to make a traditional  ‘Anio Viejo’, which is a doll stuffed with fireworks to be burned at midnight, and that represents the year that ends to receive the new year with better energy.

INew Year celebrations in Spain start from New Year’s Eve and continue till the next day. New Year’s Eve is known as Noche Vieja in the country. People dress themselves in new clothes and gather at midnight to offer their prayers. This is one of the important New Year traditions in Spain. After the prayers are over, people convey New Year greetings among themselves. The prayers are considered to bring good luck for the year ahead and drive away evil spirits.

People eat grapes to mark the New Year. As per the ritual, one needs to eat 12 grapes in 12 seconds. The 12 grapes signify the months of the year. This ritual symbolizes the rich cultural heritage of the country. The eating of the grapes is followed by drinking of local alcoholic drinks like cava and grape wines.

Dancing also ranks among the popular New Year traditions in Spain. In places like Madrid, Barcelona and other places, thousands of people come out in the streets and indulge in dancing and merriment. People dress themselves in bright costumes and dance in groups. Fireworks are also lit up.

Italians call New Year’s Eve Capodanno (the “head of the year”) or Notte di San Silvestro (the night of St. Silvestro). Traditionaly there are a set of rituals for the new year, such as wearing red underwear and getting rid of old or unused items by dropping them from the window.

Dinner is often eaten with parents and friends. It often includes zampone or cotechino (a kind of spiced Italian sausage) and lentils. At half past eight pm, The President of the Republic reads a television message of greetings to Italians.

At midnight, fireworks are displayed across Italy.

One Response to New Year’s eve traditions in the Americas, Spain and Italy

  1. There is a lot of underwear themes among those countries. It`s something I`ve never heard about before. The sweeping out of the old is quite widespread around the world.

    I think I need to go look out a good pair of red and yellow undies, if both colours will work.

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