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  • Writer's pictureJulio Madrid

¡Feliz Año Nuevo! How We Celebrate New Year's Eve in Mexico

Happy New Year 2024!

New Year's Eve, or Noche de Año Nuevo, as we call it in Mexico, is a vibrant fiesta filled with family, food, tradition, and a whole lot of fun! Get ready to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new one with open arms (and maybe a few dance moves!) as we explore how we, Mexicans, celebrate this special occasion.

Feasts and family:

No celebration is complete without a delicious feast, and Noche de Año Nuevo is no exception. Mexican cuisine is so diverse that families gather around tables laden with traditional dishes that vary depending where you are in the country: bacalao a la Vizcaína (salted codfish stew), romeritos (a leafy green dish with shrimp), menudo, pozole (beef tripe and maize, red or white), and the ones we get all around Mexico regardless if you are in the town of Tapachula, Chiapas (bordering with Guatemala), or in the city of Tijuana (next to California, USA), the famous tamales (steamed cornmeal pockets filled with various savory fillings). As the clock strikes midnight, the skies light up with dazzling fireworks, painting the night in a kaleidoscope of colors.

Traditions for good luck:

Mexicans are big believers in bringing good luck into the new year, and Noche de Año Nuevo is packed with unique traditions to do just that. Here are a few highlights:

  • Lentil love: Eating a spoonful of lentils at midnight symbolizes prosperity and abundance in the coming year. Don't worry, they're usually cooked with delicious spices and herbs!

  • Red undies rule: Ladies (and gentlemen too!) sport red underwear for love and passion, while others choose yellow for wealth, green for health, or white for peace. It's all about bringing in the desired vibes for the new year!

  • Suitcase strut: Dreaming of exotic travels? Take your empty suitcase for a walk around the block at midnight, or pack it and circle your house. Just be careful not to trip over any excited partygoers!

  • Out with the old, in with the new: Clean your house thoroughly before New Year's Eve, then symbolically sweep out the old year and sweep in 12 coins for good fortune at midnight.

  • The traditional 12 grapes: Forget the champagne toast! As midnight chimes, we gobble twelve grapes, one for each month and one for each chime of the clock, silently whispering wishes for health, love, or that dream trip to the beach. This quirky custom, born in Spain but embraced by Mexicans, symbolizes both a playful farewell to the old year and a hopeful bite into the possibilities of the new. So, if you're celebrating with us in Mexico, don't forget to grab the 12 grapes of luck and join the wishing frenzy!

Party Time!

As the night of New Year's Eve progresses, the music gets louder and the dancing kicks into high gear. Public squares and plazas come alive with music and revelry, while private parties keep the beat going until the break of dawn. Traditional Mexican music like mariachi and banda mixes with modern hits, creating an infectious energy that's hard to resist. Add to that our traditional drinks like pulque, tequila, bacanora, or micheladas, a spicy blend of beer, clamato juice, and lime, that awaken the senses with each refreshing gulp. But of course, no Mexican fiesta is complete without margaritas, their tequila-laced tang offering a perfect balance of sweet and citrusy delight. I always prefer them on the rocks! So, whether you crave cozy warmth, creamy indulgence, or a spicy fiesta in a glass, let your taste buds explore the vibrant tapestry of Mexican New Year's drinks while you celebrate with us!

A warm welcome to the New Year:

On New Year's Day (if the hangover allows it), we visit family and friends, sharing leftover food and well wishes for the year ahead. It is a well-known Mexican tradition to hug everyone you wish a happy new year, so imagine that in huge families like mine, it can take around half an hour to hug everyone while saying "¡Feliz año!". As in other cultures, this is a time to reflect on the past year, express gratitude, and make resolutions for a fresh start. The atmosphere is one of hope, optimism, and a renewed sense of possibility.

Celebrating Noche de Año Nuevo in Mexico is an unforgettable experience. It's a beautiful blend of tradition, family, and pure joy. So, if you're looking for a unique and vibrant way to ring in the new year, consider joining the fiesta with your nearest Mexican family or hop on a plane, and we'll see you down in Mexico! Just remember to pack your dancing shoes, some lucky lentils, some grapes, and maybe a pair of colorful undies, and get ready to say, ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Julio Madrid

Mexican Tamales a typical dish for New Year's Eve
Mexican Tamales a typical dish for New Year's Eve

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1 Kommentar

Luan Luan
Luan Luan
31. Dez. 2023

I really enjoy the way you write; it's like I lived it vicariously down there in Mexico this Nochevieja with you all! Is it okay to use more than one pair of undies? 🤔

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