Another New Year’s Eve in Colombia

By Artemis Maria Papoutsakis December 30, 2019

It’s time to dust of your yellow underwear and dig out those lentils out of the back of the cupboard for a New Year’s Eve in Colombia you are sure to remember. 

Año Viejo fire is a typical New Year's Eve tradition in Colombia.
Año Viejo fire is a typical New Year’s Eve tradition in Colombia.

Whilst many use the end of the year for reflections on time gone by, or for conjuring up fantastic yet unattainable New Year’s resolutions, Colombians are busy emptying suitcases, sorting underwear by colour and picking up grapes. So whether you are superstitious or just dying to get with the program, here is how you should be preparing your countdown on New Year’s Eve in Colombia.

Colombian Christmas 101: All you need to know

It was all yellow

A reason to go buy new undies and start the new year fresh and clean. Yellow is the colour of choice for Colombians to wear as the first layer of clothing to ensure they have a happy and prosperous new year, yellow being symbolic of gold. Thank goodness pineapples were in style this year, so the majority of us have some yellow shaded undies to wear. This goes for all members of the household by the way, including your four legged friends.

El Año Viejo

Lighting the sky up with fire at New Years happens in an unconventional way, where Colombians dress up a doll that symbolises the old year and past sorrows, and then light it up at midnight to bid it farewell. Wonder if there is extra luck if the año viejo wears yellow undies, or would that be attracting bad spirits? Either way, a great way to get rid of those old clothes that you haven’t worn all year. Marie Kondo would approve.

Stock up the bills

Put your money where your wallet is. No one enters the new year without carrying around some bills in their pocket, to make sure the prosperity is brought into the new year. Foreign currency is highly valued here, even Bolivares.

12 grapes

A grape for every wish you get to secretly make in the first 12 seconds of the New Year. One second, one grape, one wish. Have your wish list ready so you can focus on getting the timing and swallowing right.

One for the vegans

If you still have some space in your pockets beside the dollar bills, stock up on those dried lentils you’ve been meaning to cook the whole year. Beans in your pocket is equal to attracting a year full of wealth, economically, emotionally and spiritually. Once you cook them up after, physical fulfilment is also guaranteed.

Suitcase on the block

If you thought staying in Bogotá meant no need to pack your bags, think again. Colombians take their suitcases out for a stroll around their neighbourhood at midnight to attract lots of travel for the New Year. It’s an excellent time to make small talk with your neighbours as you all haul your luggage around.