How do Dominicans celebrate New Year’s Eve?

There are many traditions, myths and superstitions in Dominican culture. For many Dominicans still nowadays, on New Year’s Eve it is about doing things to attract good luck for the New Year – besides dancing and celebrating.

Here is a brief list of the most common 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 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.

NEW YEAR’s EVE: 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!


NEW YEAR DAWN: 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 PARTY GOES ON: The New Year’s celebrations may continue until January 6th, Día de los Reyes (Three Kings Day).

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

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