How do Dominicans celebrate the change of the year? Celebrating New Year’s Eve is about doing things to attract good luck for the New Year – besides dancing and enjoying good food with family, neighbours, and friends. Here’s a list of the 6 most common Dominican New Year’s Traditions:

Dominican New Year’s Traditions

  • Get dressed in yellow (or wear at least yellow underwear), drag a suitcase, and walk around the block or the house. In this ritual, wearing yellow indicates good fortune, while the suitcase and the action of making a turn symbolize a trip; in a few words, the desire to travel.
  • Eat 12 grapes, with every stroke of the clock at midnight, and make a wish each time.
  • Wear new, unused clothes for the New Year; likewise get rid of all the ‘old’ and useless that is in the closet = to throw away the Old, so that the New may enter.
  • Have fireworks and/or shooting to welcome the New Year.
  • Embrace and congratulate the whole family, friends, neighbors, and all loved ones at 12:00 a.m. when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, known as “Cañonazo” in the Dominican Republic
  • Paint the home and do a deep cleaning to start the New Year fresh and renewed. Once the house looks shiny and new, throw out the old brooms. This has to happen before midnight to keep bad luck away from the New Year.


Of course, good food is in the center of it all. A Dominican New Year’s dinner is one of the biggest feasts of the year, with Pork Roast, Russian salad, Pasteles en Hoja, Ponche (Rum Eggnog) and lots of authentic Dominican rum from the big B’s: Brugal, Bermudez, and Barceló.

If you like to try some typical Dominican Christmas and New Year’s eve dishes yourself, check out many great recipes here on the Dominican Cookbook of Tía Clara and Tía Ilana.


It doesn’t matter whether you dance, talk or eat until daybreak – people like to stay up late to see the first sunlight of the coming year. Many make a wish as soon as they see the sun rising, while others initiate the resolutions of the New Year.


The New Year’s celebrations may continue until January 6th, Día de los Reyes (Three Kings Day).

Read more about Dominican New Year’s traditions (in Spanish):

“Propósitos”: New Year Resolutions

Of course, New Year Resolutions shall not be missed either! The most popular resolutions for 2023 were: improving physical health and saving more money (each 20%), followed by: exercising more (19%), eating healthier (18%), and being happy (17%). 37% of survey participants planned on making new years resolutions at all, 15% more than the year before.

Also, always amongst the top 9 resolutions is the desire to learn something new, like a new language. Of course, in this we can be of help with our Spanish Courses here in the Dominican Republic.

This is a match for another resolution which is for many Dominicans always amongst the top 5: travelling.

Now, how do you plan to realize your New Year resolutions? Read about some suggestions and hints here (in Spanish):

6 acciones para cumplir los propósitos de Año Nuevo y conseguir tus metas

¡Feliz, saludable y prospero Año Nuevo! – Have a happy, healthy, and successful New Year!

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