For many, the New Year is a holiday centered around self-reflection of the year that has passed, and thinking ahead to the new year to come. For many people, setting goals for the new year is a common practice, whether they be personal goals for self-improvement, health, and growth, or goals for improving/fostering relationships with family, friends, loved ones, or even academic or work related goals. For some, the new year is also about letting go of the past--- past mistakes, hurt, losses, or failures, and moving forward in pursuit of success and happiness. In Mexican culture here in Sayulita, our community is full of traditions and rituals believed to help move us into the New Year of 2019 with good luck and fortune.
Here are 12 New Year's traditions common to Mexican culture for our 12 months in the coming new year:
- Write your wishes for the upcoming year on pieces of paper and put them in a safe place, like a special jar or bag. Later, burn or rip up the paper when each wish comes true.
- Clean the house; take a bath; or wash the pets and cars. This idea of washing or cleansing represents “renewal”.
- Burn incense to cleanse your home for a fresh and new arrival of the next chapter of life.
- Display a rimmed tray with a candle at the center, and ask family and friends to deposit change in the tray. Afterwards, fill the tray with water for good luck.
- Place a few candles on a white plate surrounded by lentils, beans, rice, corn, flour and a cinnamon stick. Allow candles to burn until melted; then peel the waxy-food mixture off of the plate and bury it. This is said to represent abundance and luck for food to always be on your table.
- Eat a tablespoon of cooked lentils, and give a handful of raw lentils to friends and family members for good fortune.
- Eat 12 grapes when the countdown to midnight starts, and make a wish with each grape. Each grape represents a month in the New Year. If a grape is sweet, it means a good month, and if a grape is sour, it means a bad month.
- Sweep the house from the inside out—this is said to be a way to symbolically sweep out “the old” to allow in “the new”.
- Throw a bucket of water out of a window for renewal.
- Take empty suitcases for a walk outside; encircle the house or walk around the block—this is said to represent safe travels for the upcoming year and to ensure the distance to be traveled in the next year. Another option is to gather the suitcases in the center of a room and walk around them several times.
- Some have said that fireworks at midnight on New Year’s Eve keep away evil spirits and bring good luck!
- Supposedly colors for clothing and undergarments brings good fortune! Green is for wealth, red for love, yellow for prosperity/happiness, and white for hope or peace
What are some of your favorite New Year’s traditions or rituals? Do you know of others celebrated in Mexico? Whatever your practices may be, New Years’ traditions are all about letting go of the past and beginning a new, fresh, positive chapter of life. Whatever wish or goal you have for 2019, we in Sayulita wish you the best in health, happiness, and success in the upcoming year!
*Written by: Aanya Sheikh-Taheri
*Source: Vallarta Living