Twelve Grapes and Other Mexican New Year Traditions

This New Year’s is going to be different,” said 23-year-old Lynwood resident Rebecca Hernandez.
As her father and other relatives head off to Mexico to visit family, Hernandez said she plans to celebrate the New Year with close friends at her home.
“Previous years, it has just been with family always at our house. We’ll have everyone come over and make food like posole, tamales... a lot of Mexican food,” said Hernandez.
Along with the usual celebration of welcoming the New Year, some families like Hernandez’s, have also tried Mexican New Year’s traditions that are said to bring good luck into the next year.
According to Hernandez, she has done everything from eating 12 grapes for 12 wishes to sweeping her house with a broom in order to take out bad spirits. All while the clock counts down to midnight.
“Traditions, I think, are always wacky,” said Hernandez.
However, she did say that one of her New Year traditions did come true.
According to a Mexican travel website, you have to encircle your house with empty suitcases right at midnight to ensure you get to travel during the incoming year.
“I did the luggage one and it worked because I went to Brazil that year,” she said.
The website also states that women who seek certain things in their life, such as love, happiness and health, must wear certain colored underwear which corresponds to what they want.
Maria Reyes, a South Gate resident for 36 years, said she tried that tradition last year.
“The yellow one is for money and the red one is for love…and you have to wear them inside out,” said Reyes.
Another New Year's tradition for good luck that Reyes has tried is to put fruit and uncooked lentils on the table to bring prosperity.
“When that is done, you put a few lentils in a plastic bag and leave it in your purse for the whole year…it’s so you are never left without money,” said Reyes.
According to Reyes, the reason for using lentils is because its shape is similar to that of coins.
However, Reyes believes spending time with family, whether her husband’s or hers, is most important for her.
“Everything will be alright while you have faith in God,” said Reyes.
“It’s just something funny to do,” she adds.
For Hernandez, these ‘wacky traditions’ are just another way to be together with her family.
 “It’s funny to look at your aunt trying to shove 12 grapes in her mouth as she’s saying her wishes,” said Hernandez.
 “I don’t believe that if I eat 12 grapes my twelve wishes come true, but I do like the fact that we’re all doing something together.”

1 comment:

  1. As a japanese american married into a traditional mexican family, it was fun and interesting to participate in the new years celebrations. We all were laughing at midnight with mouthfuls full of grapes. My wife also informed me that if one is to make talames he or she must be in a joyful mood or the talames will not taste good. I love the mexican culture!!!