Año Nuevo - New Year celebrations in
There is evidence that
many pagan cultures celebrated
Years. The Romans dedicated the first day of the
to the God Janus, the two headed God looking both forwards and
back. He is also the god of doors, beginnings and gates.
Year’s is celebrated by most cultures based on their own
calendar. Because of the adoption of Gregorian Calendar by most
New Year’s Eve is
considered one of the few universal celebrations.
Year's Eve in Mexico
The traditional Mexican
Year’s Eve begins with a long late family dinner, the wait and
countdown to midnight "Diez!
Nueve! Ocho! Siete! Seis! Cinco! Cuatro! Tres! Dos… Feliz año
nuevoooo!and then hugs, kisses all around.
Times are changing. It
is common now for family members to excuse themselves after
dinner and venture out to private or street parties, or town
plaza to enjoy fireworks and celebrations. For those that can
afford it, upscale restaurants and hotels will host parties with
special menus and bands for dancing. It is also becoming common
for young people to travel together in a group to beach tourist
destinations to celebrate the
Mexico City hosts the largest celebrations in the country and
the festivities are centered beside the Zócalo– the large
central plaza of the city and of latin America. Parts of Paseo
de la Reforma and the major street from the Palacio de Bellas
Artes down to the Zócalois closes to cars. Stages are set up
enroute and in the late afternoon various bands play to the
hordes of people. It is a colorful event with parades, floats,
costumes, firecrackers and sparklers all part of the
The countdown at the
zocalo has been compared to that of
York’s Time Square with a very large and big name entertainment
lineup covered by the TV networks. Fireworks are launched at
midnight and everyone embraces each other for the "Feliz año
nuevo!" The fireworks continue.
The party doesn’t stop there. The carnival atmosphere at the
Paseo de la Reforma includes floats, bands and dancers well into
the wee hours. An incredible amout of good will, party and
energy with hordes of people from all walks of life.
Food & Drink
A traditional Mexican
Year's Eve nearly always includes a dried and salted codfish
called Bacalao. It is available in grocery stores throughout
Mexico as Christmas approaches. It is a European dish; a stew of
cod, tomatoes olives, capers and potatoes.
Other Mexican food
include those that are popular for Christmas; Ensalada de Noche
Buena (a particularily colourful salad), tamales, romeritos ( a
green leafy vegetable), pozole (pork/chicken soup), stuffed pork
loin, turkey, and buñuelos (special fritter). Often the
Year’s Dinner will include various mole sauces.
At Midnight pan dulce and grapes are required. (see Customs
Ponche Navideño is a hot Mexican punch made with various fruits
(tejocotes, guavas, apples to name a few) cinnamon and sweetened
with piloncillo (small dark compressed brown sugar cones)
For renewal Mexicans may clean the house, take a bath, or wash
the pets and cars to revitialize and ensure a “clean future.”
Bright and bold colors
are typical for Mexican decorations but at
Years the colors signify a desire for the upcoming
Red for courage, love and better lifestyle, Yellow for blessings
and enjoyment. Green for financial success. White for good
Color of clothing is
also an important opportunity to influence your destiny. Wearing
white from head to toe to encourage a good spiritual
Green invites good health. Women must choose to wear either red
or yellow undies. Red brings love while yellow attracts wealth.
Women must decide which is more important. (We have heard that
other colors also have significance but are not as universally
accepted. Green underware for health and well-being, Pink for
true love and friendship, and white for hope and peace.)
There are many Mexican
games that are played to amuse and entertain guests. In one game
you are asked to write the good and bad events of the current
After midnight you throw the notes into the fire – symbolizing
beginning and the removal of bad times.
Typical of many countries immediately after the countdown and
cry, everyone embraces, Air-kisses near the cheek for the
ladies, and a bear hug for men. (The rhythm is slap, slap, SLAP,
slap, slap, SLAP on the back)
“las doce uvas” are eaten in a single minute, one at a time to
assure good luck in the upcoming months. Often this is
accompanyied by the chimes of a clock. Some say that each grape
represents a wish while others maintain that each represents
good luck for the each of the months (1 for January, 2 for
February etc) A sweet grape means it will be a good month next
a sour grape, a bad month.
A good suggestion is to select small seedless grapes that are
easy to swallow.
is served at the midnight, just at the juncture of the
One coin is inserted into the bread before baking and the
recipient of the coin during the pan dulce cutting ceremony is
going to be the luckiest person in the upcoming
are considered a mainstay in
Years celebrations are set to scare away negative spirits and
bring safe passage to the
Various small traditions are enacted. None are universal.
Pack a suitcase and walk around the block with it to ensure safe
travel and wonderful adventures. If that is not possible, put
the suitcase in the middle of the room and walk arount it for
Throw a bucket of water
out the window to ensure a
start and fresh beginning.
Open the door and sweep the threashhold. Toss coins on the
ground and then sweep them inside.
Year’s Day January 1
is a national holiday and is an obligatory day of rest for
schools, banks, post offices and government offices. Many stores
restaurants and other businesses close voluntarily. However most
tourist attractions; museums, galleries, archeological sites
remain open. Check before you go.