Family New Years Traditions


Each new year E.F.’s family (usually the youngest members) eats 12 grapes under a table at midnight for good luck in the new year. During this time the women wear red underwear to find love in the next year. In addition the whole family would walk around their home with luggage to manifest traveling in upcoming year.


E.F. was introduced to her family’s Columbian New Years customs growing up. She told me, “ I understand why we do our New Year’s tradition, to bring luck or romance or travel into our lives during the new year. It’s like manifestation. But I’m not really sure why we eat 12 grapes under a table, that’s always confused me”.


I think the the 12 grapes represent either the 12 months of the year or the 12 disciples of Christ, since the tradition has Catholic Spanish roots. The grapes are eaten possibly because they are connected to wine and celebration, signifying good luck. Eating the 12 grapes under a table might be to focus on positive intentions when eating, getting in the right headspace. In my friend’s second tradition I can easily understand why the women specifically wear red underwear to attract love. Women’s colors are white, red, and black, and the color red symbolizes the romantic (reproductive) stage in a woman’s life. Red underwear especially emphasizes romance in a woman’s life. Finally my friend’s third new years custom imitates the action of traveling by pulling out the suitcases and walking around, simulating being on vacation. These are all examples of homeopathic magic, by having non physical ideas being represented by physical objects in order to imitate a desired outcome in the new year.