Mexico is culturally diverse and rich in tradition,so it’s not surprising that New Year’s Day – or Año Nuevo as it is known in Spanish – is a special time throughout the country,with a variety of customs that are sure to delight visitors from around the world.
Following the late night partying on New Year’s Eve in Mexico,which typically involves plenty of eating and toasting,along with a variety of other local traditions,it is customary for people throughout the country to take it easy on New Year’s Day,enjoying more celebratory meals and the company of beloved friends and family. Since it’s common to stay up late the night before,popular meals include leftovers such as bacalao,which is a type of dried salted codfish; buñuelos,which are sweet fried dough balls; and ponche,which is a type of traditional fruit punch that is often spiked with a bit of rum.
Also,as one of Mexico’s national public holidays,banks,schools,government offices and many businesses are closed on New Year’s Day,so be sure to call ahead if you plan to venture out. This is especially true when planning to travel via public transport,since certain areas may follow revised schedules during the holidays.
One of the most interesting traditions in Mexico on New Year’s Day involves writing your wishes for the coming year on various pieces of paper and placing them somewhere safe. Then,it is customary to burn each piece of paper as the wishes come true. Also,cooked lentils are often eaten to bring good fortune,or dried lentils are given to loved ones as a symbol to attract prosperity for everyone involved.
As in much of the world,the New Year in Mexico is also all about renewal,so several traditions are meant to clean out the old and usher in a fresh start,good luck and happiness over the coming months. In some areas,people can be seen throwing a bucket of water out the window to encourage a fresh start,while in others it is customary to clean the house,take a bath and/or wash beloved pets and cars for renewal on New Year’s Day. Even fireworks are often viewed as a way to frighten away evil spirits,allowing safe and clean passage for all into the coming year.
Finally,it’s important to note that Christmas in Mexico actually continues until Dia de los Santos Reyes on Jan. 6,with ongoing celebrations held as late as Feb. 2 on Dia de la Candelaria,which is when all holiday decorations and nativity scenes are traditionally packed up for the year. Since New Year’s Day does not signal the end of holiday celebrations in Mexico,visitors throughout the nation’s popular vacation destinations can expect to enjoy an extra festive atmosphere during this special time.
What are your plans for New Year’s Day? We would love to hear about your favorite traditions in the comments section below!