Feliz Año Nuevo – Ringing in the New Year in Mexico
Celebrating the New Year is one of the world's most beloved traditions, and for most of the world, that celebration is held on December 31st, as the clock rings in the new year. In Mexico, celebrations are met with glad cries of Feliz Año Nuevo (happy New Year) and a variety of traditions that blend indigenous, American, and Spanish customs into one unique celebration that is entirely Mexico's own.
While Mexico's most famous tradition, or that of having unique family traditions, is impossible to pass on unless you're part of the family that holds them, you can enjoy Mexico's unique take on the New Year with some of their traditions and, of course, their food.
New Year's In Mexico
New Year's in Mexico is part of one long celebration that extends from Christmas until February 2nd. Christmas is celebrated on Christmas day, through the Epiphany (El Dia de los Reyes – The Day of the Kings) on January 6th, and then extends to February 2nd (El Dia de La Candelaria) when the nativity and holiday decorations are packed away. But, after Christmas day itself, the Christmas festivities blend into fiestas that celebrate the new year.
These fiestas include dancing, music, and food including hot tamales, ponche con piquete (cider), Rosca (holiday bread), and a number of other tasty celebratory foods and drinks, fireworks, and a few other great traditions that you can adopt as your own for this New Year.
Cleaning the Home
The New Year is all about starting over, and that often means cleaning the home, organizing, and getting rid of bad vibes along with the dust, dirt, and clutter. This tradition allows you to start fresh on the new year in a clean home that you can enjoy. Admittedly, it isn't much fun, but if you start early and finish before the festivities begin, you'll enjoy yourself even more.
A Wish List
Much like the American New Year's Resolution, the Mexican 'wish' is all about setting goals for your new year. You write your wishes down on paper and place them on a table. Then, as your wishes come true throughout the year, you burn the paper. Most of these wishes are similar to resolutions and contain things like "I want to lose weight", "I want to get into/out of a relationship", " I want to improve finances", etc. The requirement here is to solidify your goals, write them down, work towards them, and keep a reminder that you're going to do them.
Many people in Mexico choose to wear special fiesta clothing for the New Year, and this is very often white. Many wear specific articles of clothing like a white shawl, white trousers, or a white shirt as part of their ensemble. Of course, you can also integrate the Mexican tradition of wearing colorful underwear to promote luck towards a specific goal. Depending on your goal, you can wear red (love and passion), yellow (happiness and prosperity), green (health and wellbeing), pink (true love and friendship), or white (hope and peace).
Turn on the Lights
It's custom to turn on every light in the house on New Year's and New Year's Eve. This allows prosperity to fill the house, and may allow you to appreciate all of the cleaning you just did.
Toss It Out
If you're home at the stroke of midnight, you can toss a bucket of water out the window (not on a city street!) or symbolically sweep out your door to symbolize renewal.
Mexico's culture revolves around preparing and eating great food with family, and you can enjoy that even here in Ormond Beach. Traditionally, the New Year involves decorating the table with red and gold and a candle, as well as a floral centerpiece for luck.
The table is usually served with an array of food, including traditional dishes like lentils, bacalao (salted dried codfish), sweets, and of course, tamales.
New Year's is very much a fiesta, and that means that almost everyone goes out, or indulges in alcohol at home, including ponche (fruit punch with rum), rompope (eggnog), tequila, champagne, Sidra (cider), and many other classic Mexican drinks.
12 Grapes – Eating grapes is supposed to bring good luck, and depending on the tradition, you can make a wish with each, or just eat them. Traditionally, the grapes are eaten with the strokes of the bell tolling midnight, and if you make all of them on time, your wishes come true, or you gain an extra bit of luck for the coming year.
Fireworks are as much a part of the New Year's celebration in Mexico as in the U.S., and it's traditional to sit back and watch fireworks to frighten away evil spirits to bring peace to the new year.
How are you celebrating your New Year? If you're not sure yet, drop by Agave Fresh Mex & Cantina, one of the great Ormond Beach Restaurants, and enjoy some authentic Mexican food including tamales, and a full bar.