A tradition adopted from Spain is ringing in the New Year by eating 12 grapes as fast as possible, with each grape symbolizing a particular month of the year. In the process of eating, participants make wishes for the upcoming year. This tradition is the strongest in Venezuela, where the popularity of the NYE in the country is immense and the celebrations are high-energy, including covering up the streets with vibrant lights and colors and attending some of the countless concerts and street shows.
Just like in majority of other South American countries, in Colombia, the color of the underwear worn at the NYE is crucial for the upcoming year. Those who wish money to come their way wear yellow, as it represents gold. Red is for those who wish for passion, white for those who want peace, green for those who wish for hope, and blue for those awaiting tranquility in their lives. Another common tradition is to have money in hand during the New Year’s celebrations.
An unusual tradition of running as fast as possible around the house or block with a suitcase in hand is strong in Argentina, as well as in the rest of South America. This is believed to bring enough money for travelling in the upcoming year. In Argentina, people also eat beans for ensuring safety of the current job or for opening up new possibilities in the New Year.
In other South American countries like Brazil and Chile, lentils are eaten instead of beans for ensuring good luck and prosperity with plenty of food in the coming year. In Colombia, lentils are eaten with rice or sometimes are just put in a pocket.
In Brazil, the biggest party takes place on the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro. Up to 2 million people dressed in all white gather together for the “Reveillon” (the local name for the NYE) and await the impressive fireworks. Afterwards, majority of the participants enter the water and salute the New Year while giving white flowers to the sea goddess Iemanjá, in accordance with the Afro-Brazilian tradition.