Crazy Latin American New Year's traditions!

Some of them are weird, while others...kind of make sense!

    Hug someone of the opposite sex

In Chile, 12 midnight is the perfect time to go and hug someone of the opposite sex, in hopes that will give them more luck in love. Think of a mistletoe for all, with hugs instead of kisses.

    New Year's dinner

It's traditional for families and friends in Mexico to welcome the new year with yet another dinner, akin to Christmas Eve. Although not uncommon in the rest of Latin America, this Mexican New Year's dinner usually has tamales and "romeritos", a traditional Mexico City dish of dried shrimp or potato patties with romerito sprigs.

    Fireworks and firecrackers

Latin Americans aren't that weird. Fireworks are just a staple of New Year's Eve as they are any other place. However, firecrackers are abundant during the night of the 31st, and one must exercise caution in some places, especially when using them around children, pets or simple just forget about them.

    Giving away "Hallaca"

In Venezuela, friends gather at midnight and gift each other a "hallaca", a Venezuelan food similar to a tamale, wrapped in a banana leaf. They're believed to bring good luck and strength to friendships.

    Empty buckets of water out the window

After moping their floors clean, Cubans takes those buckets full of dirty water and pitch them out from their windows and down to the streets, and therefore purifying their homes. This tradition is believed to come from African religious beliefs or santería.

    Three potatoes under your bed

In Colombia they place sprigs of wheat on the table for New Year's Eve dinner, in hopes for an abundant year and three potatoes under their beds: one peeled, one half-peeled and the other unpeeled. At midnight you choose one, without looking, and if you get a: peeled one, it's bad luck; a half-peeled one means basically you'll stay the same; while an unpeeled represents good luck all year round.

[p]And you, How to you celebrate the new year?

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