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The Craziest Cuban New Year’s Traditions

We’re all preparing to bid farewell to the strange year that was 2021. Not only did the year go by in a flash, but it also seems like so much happened in such a brief amount of time. But we believe that’s all the more reason to celebrate and make the most of this time, and a unique way to do that is by honoring Cuban culture with some of the craziest, most wonderful New Year’s Eve (NYE) traditions we have!

Here’s how you can ring in the new year with some heartwarming traditions to make this your most memorable NYE yet:

Eat 12 grapes when the clock strikes 12

What do grapes have to do with NYE, you ask? We eat 12 grapes to signify 12 months, making a wish per grape. It’s the NYE equivalent of blowing out candles on your birthday cake, but the only difference is, you have just under a minute to do this! You start eating them as soon as it’s midnight and finish them within 60 seconds--if it’s 12:01, you’re stuck with bad luck!

…and wash them down with a glass of sidra

Oh, did we mention that you’re supposed to wash those grapes down with a glass of sidra? Sidra, or cider as many would call it, is another important part of NYE traditions, and you should be gulping it down with your grapes. You can also replace it with champagne, but we recommend sticking to sidra for the authentic Cubano experience!

Manifest travel by spinning your suitcase 

Hoping to catch up on all the travel you’ve missed out on in the past couple of years? You’ve got to pick up your empty suitcase and take it for a spin around the block--or yard--whatever works. This is a popular Latin American NYE tradition that is meant to be a way to manifest travel and adventure for the coming year. It might feel silly, but it helps to have friends and family doing it with you!

Put cash in the mailbox for more to return

Another tradition we’ve seen for ages is placing money in an envelope and putting that in your mailbox to attract prosperity. Who needs a bank when you’ve got a mailbox, right? Whether it works or not, it’s definitely worth the chance if you ask us.

Kiss your loved ones with affection 

You don’t need to be Cuban for this one, but take this moment to kiss your loved ones affectionately. Hug, kiss, dance, sing, celebrate together and look back on the year that’s passed and appreciate each other for the year that’s coming. You’ve made it!

Cuban culture is rich and filled with beautiful traditions and practices, and at Calle Ocho News, we’re trying to celebrate and share that with the rest of the world. You can learn more about different traditions, practices, cuisines, and celebrations, among other things, through our website. 

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