Happy New Year: Traditions from Around the World

Posted by Wanderlust Coffees on Dec 31 2020

Happy New Year: Traditions from Around the World

No matter where you are in the world, the new year is a time for fresh beginnings. In many places, the new year is welcomed with special celebrations, often beginning the night before. We thought you may find it interesting to learn about how the people of two of the countries from which we source coffee will likely welcome in 2021!

In Colombia, each family has their own unique traditions, but there are a few national ones. Celebrating a new year begins on New Year’s Eve, which is when most of the actual celebration happens. There are the customary fireworks and big parties, but for Colombians also there are “agüeros.” Agüeros are activities that Colombian people like to do for good luck. Some eat one grape for each church bell toll at midnight on New Year’s Eve. They make a wish as they eat each grape. Others fill their pockets with lentils or put a handful of lucky lentils in their purse on New Year’s Eve. Still others are careful to wear yellow underwear (for some Colombians, yellow is the color of happiness). Colombians may also walk around the block carrying a suitcase, in hopes of ensuring lots of travel in the new year. (For Colombians, travel is a very good thing!) After the busyness of New Year’s Eve, the first of January is a day of rest and recovery for many Colombians.

In Guatemala the new year begins with lively music, colorful costumes, and lots of fireworks. Guatemalans love fireworks, and will put off firecrackers at every celebration. Bringing in a new year is no exception! Many Guatemalans will wear new clothes to bring in the new year, in hopes that their new clothes will bring them good luck for the incoming year. New Year's traditions in Guatemala include traditional dances like the “Baile de Moros y Cristianos,” a colonial-era dance that tells the story of the Christians prevailing over the Moors. There’s also the “Baile de Las Abuelitas,” a fairly new tradition which is basically a lot of older women (who are - or could be - abuelitas, or grandmothers) who are trying to outdance each other. After all of that dancing, there is the “Burning of the Bull and Wings,” a spectacle that consists of a dancing man (in a bull costume which is loaded with fireworks) chasing anyone who may be standing around in the main plaza. Guatemalans surely know how to bring in a new year with a bang!

However it is that you celebrate and bring in 2021, we at Wanderlust Coffees wish you and yours a very happy (and safe) new year!

This isn't the dance of the abuelitas, but is a happy memory from a trip to Guatemala.