From wearing yellow underwear to eating 12 grapes to running around with luggage, Latinos are all about traditions on New Year's Eve.
In the United States, our diverse population translates into a wide variety of ways people ring in the New Year. Latinos across South and Central America celebrate with a multitude of traditions. My Salvadoran husband, for example, tosses a bucket of water out the door to symbolize doing away with the old to make room for the new. Here is what other Latinos in the U.S. told me when I asked, "How will you be celebrating when the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve?"
"We first watch 'It's a Wonderful Life,' then my three sons, my husband and I all sleep in our sleeping bags around the Christmas tree..." – Alexandra Rojas
"… New Year's Eve is another celebration we spend en familia with my suegro and all of my in-laws. At midnight, the entire family exchanges hugs, starting with our spouses and kiddies. Then we toast with sparkling cider … and share what our hopes and wishes are for the New Year." – Leslie Limón
"[I'll be] eating grapes with my family; toasting to a healthy and happy 2013!" – Jeannette Kaplun
"We always make steak and ceviche-style shrimp cocktails for New Year's in martini glasses. We create a really luxurious meal for dinner... it's a tradition passed down from my suegra. We also buy little noise makers, party hats and sparkling champagne for our countdown party. We'll be watching the ball drop via video call with family on Google+ and then going outside to light up sparklers and start a kazoo riot." – Chantilly Patiño
"We usually go to or host a house party so that our kids can ring in the New Year with us. This year one of my cousins will be hosting. We just have a huge potluck with familia - Mexican Shrimp Cocktail, Pozole Rojo and plenty of cocktails and desserts are on the menu. The kids play with their cousins and adults mingle, play poker, dominoes, and just have fun. Then at midnight we all toast, hug and kiss. The party ends around 3 or 4 AM." – Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack
"I will make sure to be wearing my yellow undies under my outfit… It's for "good luck." – Mercedes Sanchez
"I do the 12 grapes and 12 wishes at midnight. I write down my wishes and read them as I eat the grapes… My grandmother used to have us all crack an egg in a tall glass of water and she used to 'read' the shapes it formed to tell us what the New Year would bring… I miss that." – Ana Flores
"[I'll be] eating 12 grapes at midnight with my family, hoping for good health and good news. My dad will be coming out of surgery earlier in the day so we will be praying for a healthy start to 2013." – Nadia P. Jones
"Cubans mop the house and throw the dirty water out the door at midnight – it's to wash up all the old and for good luck. We also put suitcases by the front door to bring about travel." – Carrie F. Weir
"We enjoy vast pots of posole with crunchy tostadas, Corona with lime, and a warm kiss at midnight to last through 2013." – Melissa Herrera
Tracy López is a bilingual writer living outside the Washington DC metro area. She is the founder of Latinaish.com.