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IMPULSE TRAVEL TEAM

We are a team of storytellers here to bring you the best Colombia has to offer. On our blog, we answer your most frequent questions and uncover our countries mysteries, culture, and highlights for you.

When the new year comes closer everybody is thinking about their wishes and goals for the coming year. While most can just hope for the best, Colombians have some little tricks and rituals to help themselves out and make sure the next year will be a blast and full of good luck. In this blog post, we will let you in on some of these funny (and admittedly weird) Colombian New Year's traditions so you can take it into your own hands to make this year a good one and know just how Colombians celebrate New Years! 

Take your luggage for a stroll

First things first - as we are all passionate travelers here, this might be the most useful and most important Colombian New Years tradition. If you are hoping to travel a lot in the coming year, it is time to grab your luggage and take it for a run around the block when the clock strikes midnight on the 31st of December (If you don’t run it doesn’t count). And don't worry, you can still enjoy the sight of the fireworks with your luggge in town, all while making sure your year will be full of unique travel experiences.

When Colombians see someone rushing by with their luggage, they will often wish them good luck with their travel plans. A little extra luck never hurt anybody! And of course, after you get back from your run around the block, it's time to take full advantage of this New Years tradition in Colombia and start planning a trip to visit Colombia for yourself!

Lentils in your pocket

Traveling is usually a lot more fun if you have a little bit of budget to spend on the route.  There are lots of traditions around good financial luck in the new year. After all, who doesn't enjoy having a bit of extra cash!

Colombians are no exception here. Another neat Colombian New Years tradition is to carry lentils in your pocket during the last day of the year. This is supposed to guarantee that you will have an abundance of cash in the coming year.

Money in your hands

Another favorite New Year's tradition in Colombia is to have some cash in hand right as the New Year arrives. If you don’t trust the lentils or want to make extra sure that your travel budget is secured, you can hold some cash in your hand when the new year arrives. This is another tradition that is supposed to ensure a steady flow of cash into your pockets in the coming 12 months.

Hopefully these two Colombian traditions for New Years combined even give you enough for mutliple trips! Some say the most effective is a 50,000 banknote....we are talking about pesos here of course!

Grapes are great

If your wishes for the next year are a little more specific than traveling or having money, this is a good one for you.


One Colombian tradition for New Years says that if you eat 12 grapes at the turn of the year. Some say each of these grapes will grant you a wish that will come true in the next year and others say it is for good luck in each of the 12 months of the year. Some people claim that you have to eat one grape at each strike of the clock at midnight. Yup, that means a grape a second.

However, eating 12 grapes in 12 seconds is quite the challenge and choking on them is probably not the best way to start the new year. By the way, drinking the grapes in the form of wine doesn’t count (you know you were thinking about this too ;)).

What color is your underwear?

This one gets a little personal but is one of the most common, not to mention quirky New Years in Colombia tradtions. If you walk around the streets before New Year's Eve, you will see a lot of stores selling bright yellow underwear. Opting for this flashing color underneath your clothing on the last night of the year is supposed to bring you money for the one to come. Red underwear is also quite common, this is for the ones of you who are looking for love in the next year.

Some people do insist that the underwear should be new and clean (whehter you happen to be looking for some loving or not and regardless of color, we do hope you are wearing clean underwear!).

Get off on the right foot with the new year

Had some tough decisions in the last year? Here's an easy Colombian tradition of New Years to get off to a better start in the next one. Get some additional help and luck in the new year by stepping into the new year with the right foot. Just take your first step of the new year with your right foot. Easy enough, right?

Taking your first step like this is a Colombian New Year’s tradition that is supposed to support you in making the right decisions. It's also easy to remember. Plus, you don't have to worry about what's in your pants, under your pants, or stuffing your face with fruit!

Burn the past


Image source: https://danielsalazar35.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/carr7.jpg

This tradition for New Years Eve in Colombia is unqiue, quite useful, and a lot of fun. Colombians have a tradition where they burn a life-size puppet or doll of an old man called the “año viejo” which translates to the “old year”. This doll symbolizes all the things you want to leave in the past year, whehter they be bad luck, bad decisions, exes, or whatever other not so happy memory. Some people even fill the doll with fireworks! What's more cathartic than literally blowing up the past, after all?

If you want to be on the safe side though, you can follow the example of some Colombians who opt for a smaller puppet filled with eucalyptus. There’s less risk of explosion and it's just as effective to leave behind those bad habits and decisions and have a clean slate for the new year.

New Years Traditions in Colombia Conclusion

Ok, you are now ready for a proper Colombian New Years! One thing is for sure with all these Colombian New Year’s traditions - your night won’t be boring! And who knows, they might bring you some luck, love, money or good decisions for the next year. From the whole team here at IMPULSE, we wish you a Happy New Year!

Don't forget to run around the block with your luggage, starting on the right foot, with lentils in your pocket, cash in your hand, yellow underwear on, and grapes in your mouth, all while the old year's misfortune goes up in smoke! And, if your neighbors think that's odd, you'll just have to put all that good luck and cash to use by planning a trip to Colombia for New Years next year!

We'd love to help you enjoy all Colombia has to offer any time of year. Click here to get some help designing a tailor made trip based on your interests or check out all our great Colombia travel experiences.

P.S.: No New Year's Party would be complete without the right music! Here are some typical Colombian songs to listen to.

Top Colombian Songs for New Year’s Eve:
1. Yo no olvido el año viejo – Tony Camargo
2. Faltan 5 pa’ las 12 – Nestor Zavarce
3. Año Nuevo, Vida Nueva – Billo’s Caracas Boys
4. La Víspera de Año Nuevo – Guillermo Buitrago
5. Cantares de Navidad – Billo’s Caracas Boys

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