Puerto Rican New Year’s Traditions

Happy New Year 2011!

Happy New Year from CaliRicans.com! In the days approaching New Years Eve I linked to a New Year traditions article that pointed out the tradition of wearing yellow underwear for good luck for the new year in Puerto Rico. While this is a popular tradition in Puerto Rico (and other Spanish speaking countries), it isn’t the only one. Read on about more New Year’s traditions in Puerto Rico…

One popular tradition in Puerto Rico is cleaning the inside and outside of the home before the New Year arrives. It is believed that the condition that you welcome the new year will be the condition that will prevail in the new year. This is why many people also choose to wear new clothing to receive the new year with new things. People also throw buckets of water out of their window or balcony to clean out the old year and others believe it also drives away evil spirits or demons and scares away bad luck.

Another popular tradition that originates from Spain is to eat 12 grapes during the last 12 seconds of the ending year. Each time the clock chimes you eat a grape and must finish all grapes by midnight! It is said that if you finish eating all of the grapes you will have good luck for the rest of the year. There are some variations to this tradition though. Some say that you have to say the name of each month as each grape is consumed, and slipping or dropping a grape forecasts bad luck for that particular month. Others say a wish before eating each grape and if successful each wish will be granted throughout the year.

Then, of course, there is the yellow underwear tradition. The tradition is that yellow will bring luck, wealth and happiness in the New Year. For this tradition you have to buy yellow underwear, wait until midnight, and when midnight strikes you must run to a place to change from your old underwear to your yellow underwear. It is believed that your luck will change as well. Why yellow? Yellow is the color most closely associated with gold and money. To be lucky the underwear must be new, and for it to be extra lucky I heard it should be worn inside out. Another way for your yellow underwear to be super lucky is if you received it as a gift.

If wealth, happiness and luck isn’t your thing, you can always wear red underwear (for passion, love, romance), pink underwear (for love), white underwear (for health, fertility, peace) or green underwear (for luck).

Unfortunately this folklore only applies to female underwear. I was asked what do men wear? Well, some don’t have a problem with this tradition…

Yellow Underwear New Years

But for those who don’t want to strictly follow the tradition, yellow boxers or briefs should be fine. Some people even choose to wear their new yellow underwear before midnight strikes to avoid the mad dash to the restroom at midnight for the underwear change!

During the New Year’s celebrations in Puerto Rico you also hear people blasting their car horns, boat whistles, ringing church bells and beating drums to drive away evil spirits and demons. Some people also throw sugar around the outside of their home to attract good luck and ward off bad luck. Fireworks have always been a huge tradition but they have since been outlawed.

And last but not least, Puerto Ricans cannot welcome the New Year without traditional Puerto Rican food like asopao and arroz con gandules! Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year!

2 Comments

  • esto es para los que de verdad conocen el sabor criollo, el restaurant BIG ED, no se los recomiendo, los pasteles no tienen sabor , los tostones recalentao y frio, nada de ambiente,
    este lugar no tiene nada borincano, es una verguensa para nosotros los boricuas !!! bueno mi gente esto es sincero!!!   

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