Buy some grapes, pack a suitcase and take care choosing the color of your underwear on Monday. Those are just three New Year’s Eve traditions in Mexico with which you can kick off the new year.
The idea of starting afresh is appealing to many who see the new year as a chance for a clean slate and a new start. Many will be thinking of resolutions to guide them into the coming year.
All over the world there are traditions with which to see in the new year and Mexico is no exception, with a number of rituals to clear out the old and bring in the new. Here are a few that you may want to try.
The 12 grapes of new year
Stock up on seedless grapes before your New Year’s Eve party to take part in the 12-grape ritual common in many parts of the country. It is likely that the tradition came to Mexico from Spain, but nonetheless the practice of eating 12 grapes in the countdown to midnight (or some say at the stroke of midnight) remains incredibly popular.
Take each grape and make a wish on each one as you pop them into your mouth. Some say that if the grape is sweet you will get your wish but if it is bitter you might be in for a tricky month, so pay attention to the flavor of each fruit as you chomp them down.
The empty suitcase
If you want travel to be in your future in 2019 get some suitcases ready on New Year’s Eve. Don’t pack the suitcases, however, because for this ritual they should be empty. As the clock strikes midnight, grab your bags and head out for a walk around the block under the light of the moon. The belief is that this ritual will ensure that you get to enjoy new horizons in the coming year.
The color of your underwear matters
You might notice that markets and supermarkets in Mexico are selling lots of underwear in bright red, yellow and green colors in the lead-up to New Year’s. This is because according to tradition the color of your New Year’s Eve panties can help you attract what you are most looking for in the coming year.
Don a red pair if you are looking for love, yellow if you want to attract wealth and green if you want good health. You may also choose to wear white underwear if you are looking for a more peaceful 12 months in 2019.
Sweep out the old to make space for abundance
Grab a broom and get ready to sweep out the old. On New Year’s Eve, a common ritual is to ceremoniously sweep dirt out from the front door of the house before throwing some coins outside the door and then sweeping them back inside. The symbolism of this ritual is rather obvious: letting go of the old and welcoming in the wealth. Get your brooms and coins ready if wealth and abundance are what you are after in the coming year.
Burning of the old year
In Quintana Roo and some other parts of Mexico there is a tradition, likely Spanish in origin as well, that involves making a doll that acts like an effigy of all the bad or stagnant energies of things from the previous year. The doll sometimes represents a political figure but can just be a symbolistic representation of all of the negative occurrences from the last 12 months.
At midnight the doll is burned. As it goes up in smoke and disappears it takes all of those bad things from the previous year with it.
Bringing light into the new year
The universal symbolism of light plays a role in this New Year’s tradition. Light up your house by turning on all the lights before midnight so that your home is as bright as possible. The idea is that the light will attract prosperity and abundance in the year to come.
Pick the color of your candles wisely
Another tradition related to light is to burn a particular color candle depending on what you are hoping to attract in the new year. If you want a peaceful year light a blue candle, if you are looking for abundance find yourself a yellow one, for love light a red one or to rid yourself of negative energies, a purple candle is for you.
Green candles are said to bring good health, orange ones attract success and if things are a little muddled and you need some clarity, light up a white candle to help clear the way in 2019. Once lit, it is believed that your candle should not be put out until it has burned all the way down so that all the positive energy fills your home.
Let there be lentils
If you are hoping for an abundant 2019 make sure to cook up some lentils on December 31. At the stroke of midnight, grab a spoonful of the cooked lentils and eat them. It is quite likely that this tradition comes from Roman times when a purse of lentils would be given to friends or family with the idea that they would become gold coins.
The abundant sheep
You may have seen a number of stores and market stalls around Mexico selling sheep figurines alongside things like candles, crystals, potions and lotions. This is because sheep are believed to bring abundance. Once purchased, place your sheep by the front door, maybe with a gold coin or two, and wait for the money to come rolling in in 2019.
Wear something new while enjoying your New Year’s dinner
Another tradition is to wear a new item of clothing or accessory to your New Year’s dinner or festivities. It is said that this will help attract abundance in the coming year. Out with the old, in with the new, as they say.
Whatever form your New Year’s Eve takes, here’s hoping that all your wishes come true.
Susannah Rigg is a freelance writer and Mexico specialist based in Mexico City. Her work has been published by BBC Travel, Condé Nast Traveler, CNN Travel and The Independent UK among others. Find out more about Susannah on her website.