Riviera Students’ Favorite New Years Traditions


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People gather in New York City to watch the Time Square Ball drop on New Years Eve

Jaida Lewin and Katalina Kaminsky

Most people greet the new year at 11:59 p.m. on December 31 while participating in unique traditions to celebrate. Some traditions involve only certain families or cultures, while others are universal. Here at Riviera, our students eat twelve grapes, order Domino’s pizza, cut a cake with a baked-in coin, burn paper mache dolls, and much more.

One common tradition is eating twelve grapes while counting down to the new year. According to a long-forgotten legend, every grape you eat will grant you a wishful month. When the clock strikes midnight, participants eat the twelve grapes in hopes of fulfilling this tale. Valerie Arevalo (6) and her family have participated in this tradition for as long as she can remember. It’s one of her favorite ways to celebrate New Year’s, along with a family game of bingo.

Some families have their take on these customary traditions. Alexa Young (7) orders a Domino’s pizza at midnight every year to enjoy with her family. Her mom’s hatred for Domino’s pizza prompted the practice. New Year’s is the only night she is allowed to eat it in a year.

Others spend their night indulging in cultural festivities. Ecuador’s main New Year’s tradition is burning paper mache dolls and old clothes. The tradition “burns away” the past year’s negative aspects and welcomes a joyous new year. Olivia Romero (7) participates in this tradition with her family.

Although cake is usually associated with birthdays, it is also a crucial component of this Greek New Year’s custom. The tradition involves baking a cake, typically the traditional vasilopita, with a coin inside. Whoever finds the coin in their piece of cake is believed to gain good luck for the new year. Participants typically consume the cake sparingly because of the metal in the coin. 

For those who don’t engage in a yearly tradition, there is always time to start! Here are a few noteworthy traditions, not in any particular order:

  1. Running out of the house with an empty suitcase to promote yearly travels
  2. Wearing red underwear to bring love and yellow to bring wealth
  3. Eating lentils to bring riches
  4. Watching the Time Square Ball Drop
  5. Wearing white and stepping with your right foot to promote good luck and peace
  6. Falling backward into the ocean to start the year off fresh
  7. Keeping all the windows open to let the old year out
  8. Writing out your resolutions for the upcoming year


Which News Years' tradition is your favorite?


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