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Costa Rica New Year Traditions

As the New Year changes, the majority of us take the opportunity to take a look at our failures and successes of the past year, and try to improve some aspect of our lives. In most countries, people count down the seconds to the beginning of the New Year and make some kind of resolution to stick to for at least a couple of weeks.

Fiestas at Zapote
Costa Rica New Year — Entertainers Perform on New Year’s Eve at Zapote

In Costa Rica, housewives will sweep out the entire house on Dec. 31st to remove the past year’s evils and get a fresh start to the New Year. Others swear that putting water in a pan and throwing it over your shoulder will ensure that all bad things are behind you for the coming year.

When getting ready for New Year’s Eve festivities, it is said that wearing yellow will bring good luck, while red underwear will ensure a new significant other or even a new spouse within the next 12 months.

Travelers are told to put a book bag on or take your luggage out and walk around the house two times or to cross the street with it to invite opportunities for travel in the coming year. It is also said in many Latin American countries, Costa Rica included, that eating 12 grapes at midnight will grant you 12 wishes and/or good luck.

The majority of the population flocks to the beach to bring in the New Year. Some hot spots include Mal Pais, Montezuma, Puntarenas, Jaco and the beaches of Guanacaste. The festival at Zapote is also a popular destination for New Years Eve, but this year the big bars closed down because the employees prefered to spend the holiday with family, as many Ticos do. Once the countdown is concluded, the most traditional New Year’s song in Costa Rica is called “Año Viejo”, a traditional song in which a man sings about what the past year left him.

While fireworks are a give-in in most countries, you may have become immune to them by the time New Year rolls around in Costa Rica as they seem to go off every night throughout the month of December, the 31st being no exception.

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Written by Claire Saylor

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