We had our Mexican New Years last night and what a party it was! We decided to ask our staff what traditions are used in their family for New Years and man, what great traditions there are. Think color, grapes and sparkling wine. Think late night dinners that carry on into late night community parties. We are not talking about the long parties that go on into the wee hours of the mornings on the beach, we are talking about community parties where young and old, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers gather in the city center, the Zocalo and bring in the New Year!
Mexican New Years Traditions
There are a few Mexican New Year traditions that play a key role in the evening celebrations. First the house has to be cleaned from top to bottom before New Year’s Eve. This is done to clean out all bad energy and bring in the New Year with a clean home. Second the house is decorated for the New Year’s party. Color is key and there are four colors to choose from, green, yellow, red and white. Each color symbolizes a wish, green for prosperity, White for good health, red for courage and love and yellow for work and enjoyment. If you are looking for love, decorate your New Year’s party with reds. If you want to earn or have more money, decorate in green! If you want it all….use all the four colors! The color symbolism even goes as far as the color of your underwear, no kidding. Men and women choose their underwear according to what they are hoping for in the new year. Love that ritual!
The actual party consists of family and food traditions, something that we would expect from the Mexican culture. Salted fish is a staple meal with 12 grapes for each guest. At midnight, each guest will eat one grape every time a second passes (the first 12 seconds of the year) with one wish granted for each grape. That is 12 wishes in total at the 12th hour for the first 12 seconds of the new year. If you were wondering why there are so many grapes in the Riviera Maya grocery stores, there is your answer.
Tables are decorated with candles, the symbol of fire, wishes are put on pieces of paper and then burned so the wish comes true. Sparkling wine is a must as the bubbles represent wishes that dissolve into the atmosphere. Once the dinner party is done at midnight, it is off to the city center to celebrate the new year with the community! This communal party goes to the wee hours of the morning, making New Years Day a national holiday and a day of rest. The same guests from the night before are invited over for left overs and the party resumes until sundown.
A unique Mexican New Years Tradition – the travel wish
There is a very interesting travel wish and ritual that we find fascinating in the Mexican New Year celebrations. If you want to travel in the new year, luggage is to be put by the door and at some time during the night, families will be seen walking around the block with their luggage to secure their travel wish. Now that rocks! Our luggage was put by the door and at 830 pm we walked around the block so that all of our local and international travel wishes would come true! The travel list in 2013 is long as we have been inspired in the last few months to get off the computers and do more traveling to local travel sites that are new for us and sites that are old favorites. 2012 was a wonderful international travel year but 2013 will be a local, Mexican travel year. Mexico has more for us to see, especially in the Riviera Maya and we want to continue to be inspired by our local surroundings.
2013 is the Year of Inspiration in the Riviera Maya
In 2012 the world was supposed to end. Well it did not but what the end of the Mayan calendar did bring was a whole new wave of inspiration for local travel. It is also a new beginning where we will appreciate the small things. We live in paradise, really, and some days, like everyone else we forget. That is a big thing to admit, but we do. Computers go down, life gets in the way, and we forget the small things that make up our daily life in the Riviera Maya. Sun, beautiful beaches, a community of passionate people who love to experience new things, the ass backwards and ass forward things that we bump into each day.
So our New Year’s resolution is to do as many things as we can in the Riviera Maya that we love, that we have been meaning to do (walk from Playa del Carmen to Akumal on the beach) or love to do but don’t make as much time as we should for it (snorkeling and diving). We will look at things differently, we will notice the details and take note of the details. We will appreciate how much the Riviera Maya inspires us each and every day and has inspired us for 20 years!
The luggage was walked around the block on New Years Eve so we are committed. Are you with us?