New Year’s Most Popular Traditions in Mexico

With the arrival of the new year in Mexico, hopes for better times also arrive. In the Mexican culture, so full of traditions, year-end rituals are an important part of popular belief for finding love, money, good luck, and hey, why not? – even winning a new car.

There is an endless number of rituals, perhaps one for every Mexican family, and they’re passed on from generation to generation.

Some rituals have religious backgrounds, like praying the rosary, attending mass before 12 o’clock, and lighting candles, but most have more to do with luck and good fortune.


Here are some of the most popular traditions for a wonderful New Year:

  • According to tradition, before the end-of-the-year dinner, thoroughly cleaning the house is recommended to get rid of bad vibes and to attract better things.
  • Making a wish list is part of the year-end ritual; write them down and have them on hand for the rest of the year. Common goals include losing weight, quitting smoking, changing jobs, healthy eating, and why not? – even ending a relationship.
  • The clothes which are worn at the year-end dinner also have a special meaning. Some tend to dress in white clothing to ward off illness and to attract good health.     Most people, however,  use garments especially worn for the first time for that evening: coats, shawls, hats, scarves, sweaters, shirts, ties, and curiously, under all those warm clothes, red and yellow underwear.The red colors are used to attract love and passion … ¿The yellow?… to attract happiness and wealth.
  • When evening comes,  it’s customary to turn on all of the house lights so that,  prosperity and success radiate throughout the year.
  • Preparing and decorating the table for dinner is also a ritual-filled process. The dinner is plentiful, with a great variety of flavors: sweet, strong, spicy, and sour…  and of course, beverages: both with and without alcohol.



  • The table is arranged with the best tablecloth, the most luxurious dishes, and sparkling glasses for the midnight toast. Red and gold predominate on the table, as well as candles at the center and floral arrangements to attract good luck and prosperity.

Rituals with Candles Good Luck

A special wish and … well,  now follow this guide to learn what color candle you should place:

  • Blue brings peace
    Yellow: abundance
    Red:  love
    Green:  health
    White:  knowledge
    Orange: Intelligence

So by now, you must think there are too many things to do, huh? Just wait until midnight for a parade of more rituals:

  • At the stroke of 12 at midnight, it’s customary to ring a bell and ring it loudly. No home should be without this item for it symbolizes the home’s joy and happiness.
  • While the bells are sounding,  everyone has to eat 12 grapes — symbolizing the wishes for each month of the New Year.

  • Immediately afterward hugs and kisses with relatives and friends represent love and companionship for each other and for their loved ones.
  • When a couple gets a hug and kisses they are hoping that the year will be full of love.


New Year's Ritual Good Luck

Next, each person starts with their personal rituals some of the most popular are:


  • For money and prosperity, place a coin inside your shoe or a bill in your pocket. Some people also eat cooked lentils, much like the American tradition of eating black-eyed peas.
  • Sweeping with a broom out the door of the house, you have to sweep toward the street to take out negativity, suffering, and bad luck. 

Sweep out Bad Luck New Year's Ritual


  • If you want the love of a certain someone all you have to do is roll a picture of them and tie it with a red ribbon. Place the picture under your pillow.
  • For those who want to travel the custom is to go out with a suitcase and walk around the street. The farther away you want to travel the farther you need to walk. If traveling with someone else, that person has to walk with their luggage too!
  • Throwing the water from the glass means we are getting rid of pain and tears.
  • For those that want to get married, it is recommended together they sit and stand with each ring of the bells.
  • If you need a promotion just go up the stairs or up a ladder to be higher than the other guests.
  • For those of you that like to light candles, there’s another beautiful ritual. You need to light, at exactly 12 o’clock,  three candles placed as a triangle.  One candle should be red, another one green, and the last one yellow. Place 9 rice grains, 9 lentils, and 9 golden coins. This ritual is meant to ask for prosperity, health, and love for the family.  

So, as you can see for New Year’s there are so many rituals. Some people like to celebrate with friends and family, and others prefer to be alone.  What is for sure is that the majority of people in Mexico go to mass and pray, thanking God for all He has given them and asking for a good new year.  There are many fun, crazy, entertaining rituals that people enjoy and hope they work!  In any case, we all wish you a Happy New Year!

New Year's RitualsHappy New Year!