Top new year’s eve traditions in South America

Top  new year’s eve traditions in South America

New year’s eve is a common festivity around the world, and many countries celebrate it in different ways. However, this celebration isn’t only to bid farewell to the old year but to ensure the next one is even better.

While you are waiting for the clock to strike midnight, you can start doing all your preparations to welcome the new year.   Also be ready to  enjoy a pyrotechnic show, and to party all night long.



Many have their own traditions when it comes to celebrating new year´s eve, and Latin Americans are not the exception. Thus, I will tell you some of the traditional activities that most of Latin Americans do to celebrate this holiday.

Dinner time

For Latin Americans dinner time is an important tradition during this time of the year.

Before midnight families usually meet and make the preparations for the year’s last evening meal. Which depends on the country your are visiting.

As an example in Ecuador and Peru the main protein of the dishes are turkey, chicken and/or roast pork accompanied with salad, rice, potatoes and more.  Thus the whole family and friends enjoy a nice meal before or after midnight of December 31th.


instagramIf you are in Ecuador I would love to see your pictures.


Eating 12 grapes.


This tradition is common not only in South America but also in Spain.

You have to eat 12 grapes at midnight, each grape represents one month of the year and will bring you good luck.

Make sure you have your 12 grapes and one more extra to ensure your luck in the coming year.

Red and/or yellow underwear

This traditions is a little unusual for me and I believe for some of you.

Some people believe that wearing a red underwear will help you to find love or your soul mate, as well as giving you an amorous year.

If you already find your soulmate. Perhaps  you can wear the yellow underwear, so your personal finances will be prosperous during the new year.

Walking around the block with a suitcase


Personally I did not do it, but some of my family and friends did.  After hugging your friends and family, you wish them a good year and go out and do this ritual.

Let me explain it to you.  If you want the next year to be full of trips, the only thing you have to do is walk around the block with a suitcase to ensure safe and abundant travels in the new year.



 Glass or bucket with water.


I never heard of this tradition before, for me its something new.

You have to fill a glass or small bucket with water and toss it in front of the yard or throughout the window. This means that you will have less tears in the following year.

Cleaning the house

My sister in law and her family are familiar with this traditions but its kind of new for me.

Some people believe that cleaning the house help get rid of evil spirits and negative energy, so you can welcome the new year with a fresh start and positive energy.  However other people believe that cleaning the house will disappear the good luck.


Quema del año viejo (burning of the old year)


The last tradition that my country Ecuador and some of the South American countries celebrate is the burning of the old year.

Let me explain. This tradition consists on making a puppet or doll with old clothes and filling it with news papers or sawdust and some firecrackers.  The face is usually of someone who resembles the bad year to be finished.

On the night of the 31st, the puppets or dolls are exposed at the houses’ doors with the famous wills with the good and bad things left by the old year

  At midnight all families and friend gather on the streets to begin with the burning of the puppets and when the clock strikes 12 the fireworks start to make noise and announce the arrival of the new year.


The meaning of this tradition is that it is a ritual of purification, to eliminates all bad luck and negative energies of the last year and have a new start in the coming year.

I love this tradition because in Ecuador specially in the city of Guayaquil, people make different kinds of puppets which are small ones and big ones, and some of them are truly a work of art. Some of these monigotes (puppets) take months to build and can be expensive to buy.



In conclusion, I can say that these traditions are unique and the celebration of them to welcome the new year makes it a different and special experience for those who have the opportunity to be in Ecuador and South America.
If you have the opportunity to be there and experience one of these traditions, tell us which is your favorite.



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Top new year’s eve traditions in South America

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