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 Culture & Traditions

New Year’s Rituals in Mexico Bring Good Luck, Health & Prosperity

by Chela Orozco

*Spanish

With the arrival of a 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 are 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 12o’clock and lighting candles, but most have more to do with luck and good fortune.

Here are some of the most popular:

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 clothing worn at the year-end dinner also has a special meaning for some people. 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 reds are used to attract love and passion … ¿The yellow?… to attract happiness and wealth

When evening comes,  it’s customary to turn on each of the house lights so that, according to custom, 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. A special wish and … well,  now follow this guide to learn what color candle you should place: 

Blue brings peace- yellowabundance-  red:  passion-  green:  health- white:  clarity and orange: intelligence.

So you think that there’re already too many things to do, huh ? Just wait until midnight for a parade of more rituals:

At the stroke of 12 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 eats 12 grapes — symbolizing the wishes for each month of the New Year. 

Immediately afterwards come the hugs and kisses session with relatives and friends, which represents  love and companionship for each other and for their loved ones. 

When a couple person receives hugs and kisses; they are assured that the year will be full of romance. 

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