11 Mexican New Year superstitions and traditions

New Year's Eve in Mexico is associated with an array of traditions and superstitions, some stranger than others.

As a general rule, Mexicans are very superstitious and love a good ritual.  New year festivities are of course a time when people are thinking about making a fresh start with their dreams and looking forward to all the things they want the new year to bring them.  So it doesn't hurt to get a little extra help from a ritual or two to bring good luck, money, love, a job, or anything else you are wishing for.

11 Mexican New Year Traditions And Superstitions

A lot of the new year traditions originally come from Spain. Eating twelve grapes with the chimes of midnight, for example, is a Spanish tradition practiced at New Year.

Others are much more universal; setting off fireworks and toasting with a glass of bubbly are familiar in New Year festivities outside of Mexico.

Mexican New Year celebrations are usually family events; relatives and friends come together for a big dinner, often just before midnight, with the same typical dishes that are served for Christmas dinner; turkey or pork leg or back, bacalao (salted cod cooked with lots of different ingredients), romeritos (a type of herb cooked in a spicy mole sauce with shrimp patties and nopalitos), spaghetti or ravioli and sweet and creamy apple salad.

Then the chimes of midnight begin and you have to start trying to stuff your mouth with grapes while simultaneously toasting with your glass of bubbly and giving everyone in the room a hug and wishing them happy new year!  It's a feat of frantic multitasking.  Add to that any of the other rituals you also have to do at midnight and it's pretty difficult to achieve it all.

Here are some of the most popular New Year traditions and superstitions in Mexico.

1. Underwear

Wearing red underwear for good luck or yellow underwear to attract money.

2. New clothes

Wearing new clothes also brings good luck and means that you will continue to be able to wear new clothes for the rest of the year. 

3. Sweep out the old year

Sweeping and cleaning your house clean before New Year's Eve means you are getting rid of the negative energy of the old year.

4. Making a talisman with your resolutions

Making New Year's resolutions is pretty universal, but the ritual of the talisman puts a different and magical spin on the typical resolutions.

You write down your resolutions on a small slip of paper, then put it inside a little pouch or envelope together with some grains of rice, lentils and/or beans which represent abundance. You seal the little packet and keep it in your purse or wallet all year. At the end of the year you can open and see which resolutions you kept.  I did this a couple of years in a row - it was fun to do, but didn't work any better than normal resolutions!

There are also different kinds of talismans or amulets that you can buy or make to bring you good luck, wealth, love, etc that contain various "magical" symbolic ingredients, such as rice/beans/lentils to represent abundance.

11 Mexican New Year Traditions And Superstitions - Image Shows Grapes In A Bowl

5. 12 grapes

Eating 12 grapes at the chimes of midnight (one for each chime, which means you end up stuffing all the grapes into 
your mouth as fast as possible). Each grape represents a month of the coming year and you should make a wish for each one. If you manage to eat all the grapes within the twelve chimes of midnight, your wishes will come true!

11 Mexican New Year Traditions And Superstitions - Image Shows A Champagne Glass

6. Sidra

Drinking cider with the grapes (although you could have champagne instead).  Mexican sidra has a very low alcohol content and tastes closer to sparkling apple juice.

7. El abrazo

Hugging everyone in the room (el abrazo).

11 Mexican New Year Traditions And Superstitions - Image Shows A Small Model Sheep

8. The lamb of abundance

Being given a little stuffed sheep (or lamb) which you have to put in your house by the front door to bring you wealth and abundance in the New Year.

9.  Lentils

Lentils also represent abundance and wealth so eating a plate of lentils on New Year's Eve is supposed to attract prosperity.

11 Mexican New Year Traditions And Superstitions - Image Shows Lentils

10. A suitcase

If you want to travel in the new year, take an empty suitcase and walk or run around the outside of your house with it.  This will bring you opportunities to travel!

11. Fireworks

Setting off lots of fireworks, with little regard for safety. In the days leading up to New Year there are fireworks stalls all over town selling intriguing little coloured paper packages, shiny foil tubes on sticks, and certain rockets not on display that you have to ask for without being too obvious (so I have been told). All this results in a cacaphony of bangs and crackles and flashes in the sky just after midnight as rockets go off all over the city, creating the impression of being in a war zone.

11 Mexican New Year Traditions And Superstitions - Image Shows Three Sparklers

What do you think of these traditions? How do you celebrate New Year? What superstitions and traditions do you have in your part of the world? Do you know of any other Mexican New Year customs I haven't mentioned here?

I'd love to hear about your festivities, so please leave me a comment below and share this post on social media if you enjoyed it.

You can find out about how Mexicans celebrate Christmas in Christmas in Mexico vs. Christmas in the UK.

Musings Of A Tired Mummy


  1. How interesting! A couple of the superstitions are similar with Chinese New Year!

    Merry Christmas, Ruth!


  2. I didn't know about any of these traditions until reading your post so this was an education for me - I love learning new things about different cultures! I personally love the 12 grapes, that sounds like fun. Plus the idea of having them with a glass of champagne sounds a bit delicious! We did very little this year in terms of celebrating because I am seven months pregnant with twins. So it was a cup of decaf tea and bed early for me. Boring I know but hopefully I can make up for it next year! Thank you for sharing this really interesting post on #globalblogging x

  3. I've never heard the underwear one before, I need red and yellow underwear now! #KCACOLS

  4. I never knew about this, interesting to read about X #kcacols

  5. I had never heard of any of these before. Very interesting #KCACOLS

  6. SO many different traditions and superstitions. Love the little stuffed sheep one! #KCACOLS

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