New Year’s Superstitions and Traditions

By Juanita Cardona

Everyone has their own unique way of celebrating when the clock strikes 12 on New Years, be it running around the neighborhood with a suitcase to welcome travel in the new year or eating 12 grapes and making a wish for each one, to make the end of the year special to all.

These traditions, introduced as we are children, are ones that we will carry with us everywhere we go as we grow older and even as we leave home.

New Year’s superstitions and traditions vary from different countries to cultures, making a holiday we all celebrate unique to everyone in it’s own way. The first day of the new year holds a special significance to us all— the connection between our superstitions and how we welcome January 1 can either bring a year full of good luck or bad luck.

For many Hispanics, making a wish as one eats 12 grapes in the last seconds before midnight and holding lentils or rice to assure food for the new year is a common tradition.

“My family is Haitian, we make soup joumou every New Year’s. If we wouldn’t do this every year it would feel like something is missing, we didn’t do it once and it didn’t feel right,” said Daniella Dominique, a senior at MLEC.

Even in other parts of the world, superstitions aren’t far behind. In Korea, it is common to write down all of your resolutions on a piece of paper and burn them in preparation for the new year.

The burning of objects is common as it is believed to get rid of bad karma to help leave the negativity of the past year behind. Colombians make a doll out of old clothing and burn el año viejo.

Another Hispanic tradition that involves the entire family— and sometimes the entire neighborhood— is grabbing suitcases as soon as it turns midnight to run around the streets in hope that it will bring adventures and the chance to travel more.

Throwing a dirty bucket of water out the door at midnight to remove bad energy from the home is practiced often as well.  

All of these superstitions are in search for good luck, prosperity, wealth, and an overall better year. Each culture and each family creates their own traditions, traditions that continue to be passed down to each generation.  

“Although I don’t believe in superstitions, it’s important to me to continue Colombian culture and traditions because it’s something I grew up doing and makes New Year’s unique to Colombian households,” said Jessica Plazas, a University of Florida student and alumni of MLEC.


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