Our Favorite Latino Holiday Traditions

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Does your family celebrate some unique traditions come Christmas time? Although many of these practices may seem silly, the holidays just wouldn’t feel the same with out them! Check out our round up of our favorite Latino Holiday traditions:

  • In Puerto Rico, children celebrate the festive Dia de los Reyes by placing hay under their beds to feed the hungry camels of the 3 Kings. We all know the real reason kids play along is because they know that there will be a present where the hay used to be the very next morning. It’s like the Latino version of tooth fairy!
  • The tradition of eating 12 Grapes to commemorate the months of the year started back in the motherland, España. Now it is celebrated all over Latin America, but seems to be most popular in Mexican celebrations of the New Year. Pop 12 grapes while making twelve wishes and your dreams will all come true. ¡Sabroso!
  • Coquito, is hands down the best Latino Holiday tradition we can think of. Made mainly in the Spanish Caribbean, the delicious blend of coconut milk, cinnamon and the all important rum, make it an irresistible part of any holiday celebration. Bottoms up!
  • For Dominicanos, packing a suitcase and walking around the block on New Year’s helps to ensure safe travels and luck for the following 12 months.
  • Now, we all know Latinos are a little impatient and that may be what causes so many of us to adopt the celebration of Noche Buena, or Christmas Eve. Instead of waiting for the sun to rise, many Latino households stay up until the clock strikes 12 midnight and then proceed with the opening of presents. This is a huge advantage that Latino children have held over gringos for years!
  • No one really knows why wearing yellow underwear on New Years Eve supposedly helps bring good luck, but it couldn’t hurt, right? All over South America, the yellow panties are flying as ladies change into them before the New Year strikes.
  • Cubanos, on the other hand, believe that a clean slate must begin with your house (sounds like Mami put them up to this one!) After cleaning your entire home, you’re supposed to take the bucket of dirty water and throw it over your balcony at midnight to wash away any bad energy from the previous year.
  • Tucking money around the house helps bring prosperity according to Ecuadoreanos. Just be sure you remember where you hid the dinero, or else New Year’s Day will not be so fun!

Tell us: What special holiday traditions are close to your heart?

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About this author

Mariela Rosario,

I'm a raging opinionista and I love to share my ramblings on everything from pop culture to food to stuff that makes me laugh & cry! I've worked in all types of media (TV, film, print) and was previously the online editor at Latina magazine before joining Mamás Latinas. On most nights you can find me working my way through my library of cookbooks or playing with my puppy Lola (my only child so far). I have a wonderful hubby who shares my passion for any and all kinds of travel. Together, we've formed a semi-professional wine drinking team.

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