New Years Eve Traditions in Costa Rica

What I’ve Observed:

First, the most popular vacation week for families is the week between Christmas and New Years. Schools are out and many companies and business close this whole week, thus families are freer to travel. The beaches and lodges sometimes have more Ticos than tourists, especially this year with Covid19 reducing our number of tourists.

Second is fireworks at midnight is a big deal, both large organized shows including some Catholic Churches in conjunction with a Midnight Mass and families or individuals in their yards and streets.

Third is the Midnight Mass.

Fourth is the usual happiness and friendliness as everyone wishes you ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Fifth & Sixth are best described with part of a newspaper article:

Run around the block with your suitcase.

Though I haven’t seen it done, I have heard about this tradition for some Ticos which was reported in a Washington Post Article this month:

Put your 2021 travel ambitions into the universe by celebrating the new year like a Costa Rican. (The tradition is popular across Latin America.) At midnight, it’s tradition to grab a suitcase and run around the block in the hopes of traveling in the new year.

“The farther we run with our suitcases, my family always says, the farther we’ll travel in the new year,” writes Washington Post reporter, Samantha Schmidt, who has spent New Year’s Eve with her extended family in Costa Rica every year since she was born. “We all do it — from my toddler cousins to my eldest aunts in their high heels. Our neighbors always cheer us on, shouting ‘Feliz Año Nuevo!’ and sometimes join in, as fireworks shoot off in all directions.”

ARTICLE: 7 international New Year’s Eve traditions to try at home this year, by Washington Post

Eat 12 grapes

Also reported in that same newspaper article above is the tradition of Spain that is also done all over Latin America, including Costa Rica and I have seen and done this:

Perhaps the easiest tradition to carry out is eating grapes for good luck. The tradition began in Spain, but it is now practiced around the world, particularly in Central and South America.

Here’s how to do it yourself: Have 12 grapes, known as las doce uvas de la suerte, handy. When the clock starts chiming at midnight, eat one with each clang.

Bonus points if you’re wearing special New Year’s Eve underwear while eating your grapes. A pair of red underwear can bring you a new year of love, while yellow may bring joy and fortune.

ARTICLE: 7 international New Year’s Eve traditions to try at home this year, by Washington Post


¡Pura Vida!


¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

2 Replies to “New Years Eve Traditions in Costa Rica”

  1. Hello, Charlie. Your posts are always the first ones I read when I come to the computer each day. Happy New Year to you, too. It was a quiet one in my neighborhood this year. The corona virus has put a damper on all social gatherings. Two of my neighbors have gone to live with relatives because of age or health conditions. Walking the dog gets me out of the house and around the block. The weather is not yet really cold, just cool. Take care of yourself and keep in touch.

    Since I stopped driving a year ago, I have not been back to church. I never hear anything form anyone there.

    Nancy Fullerton

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