Each country – each culture – has its tradition that honors special occasions. When ushering in a new year, don’t be surprised in Belize when you see someone frantically counting out 12 grapes, or suddenly grabbing the broom. With our many ethnicities, Belize will keep you entertained with the unique ways we welcome 2018!

For the Mestizo of Northern Belize, wearing red underwear is a must if you desire a year filled with love. I guess if you are ending 2017 without a significant other, you might need to consider this tradition to increase your chances of romance in the New Year. If you feel especially unlucky in love, you can also (literally) sweep out the bad vibes at midnight. This New Year’s tradition involves sweeping your home just minutes before midnight on December 31st, the action ensuring that all negative vibes from the previous year do not bleed into the new one.

Opening the back door of a home at the stroke of midnight to let the old year “out” is a tradition practiced by the Creole culture of Central Belize. Many believe this New Year ritual was passed down by the Baymen settlers of old British Honduras, as this tradition is also practiced in England.

Another tradition among ALL Belizeans is to make sure that you have money in your pockets at the stroke of midnight on the New Year. This act is believed to ensure a financially stable year. (It also helps to have the cash to pay the cab fare too if you have had too many Belikins.)

There is also the ritual of consuming 12 grapes at midnight – a tasty tradition if you ask me! Each grape signifies a wish for each month of the New Year, and the simple act of consumption will bring good luck and joy. A Spanish tradition, we believe it infiltrated our culture thanks to the Spaniards’ presence in our region.

If you’re spending time with friends at home, don’t be surprised if you catch them packing a suitcase. No, they’re not running away from you – it’s just another fun belief that ‘packing’ equals ‘travel’ in the New Year.

The most common tradition however, and observed all around the world, is the midnight toast.

Happy New Year from us!

No New Year celebration would be complete without a glass of champagne to toast to your wishes, goals, and aspirations in 2018.

Whichever of the traditions you opt to test drive, go forth in optimism for a fantastic 2018. Be sure to ‘pack’, because we would love to see you back in Belize!

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About the Author: Janelle Cowo

Janelle loves traveling and experiencing new cultures both within and across the border of Belize. She particularly enjoys history and is an avid Science Fiction, Fantasy and Romance reader. What she lacks in stature, Janelle has (and even surpasses) in spirit for adventure. She is willing to try pretty much anything, from daring jumps to new eats. She loves sharing her adventures with her daughter Inori, hoping to encourage her to lead an adventurous life and enjoy the beauty of the world around her. Janelle lives her life according to Mae West quote “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

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