Have you resolved to help your kids become fluent in Spanish in 2024? Get an early start by using Spanish as you and your family celebrate the arrival of the new year. That won’t be difficult, because there are many different Spanish speaking countries around the world. That means, there are many different Hispanic ways to celebrate the end of a year and the start of a new one.

Some countries share some traditions, but they also have their own ones. Here are some of the coolest Spanish New Year’s celebrations and traditions you can implement with your kids.

Spanish Words & Phrases for Celebrating the New Year

  • New Year’s Resolution – Propósitos de Año Nuevo
  • New Year’s Eve – Nochevieja
  • December 31 – 31 de diciembre
  • Midnight – Medianoche
  • Happy New Year! – ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!
  • 2024 – Dos mil veinticuatro
  • New Year’s Day – Día de Año Nuevo
  • January 1 – 1 de enero
  • Sidra – Cider
  • Champagne – Champaña
  • Toast – Brindis
  • Twelve wishes – Doce deseos
  • Grapes – Uvas
  • New Year’s Eve dinner – Cena de Año Nuevo
  • Fireworks – Fuegos artificiales
  • Ball dropping – Caída de la bola
  • New Year’s Eve party – Fiesta de Nochevieja
  • Christmas tree – Árbol de navidad
  • Christmas lights – Luces navideñas / Luces de navidad
  • Countdown – Cuenta regresiva
  • Twelve strokes of the bells – Doce campanadas
  • ¡Cheers! – ¡Salud!

New Year’s Eve Hispanic Dinner Traditions

Dinner is a classic New Year’s Eve tradition all around the world!

On December 31, Mexicans enjoy a special dinner to ring out the old year and ring in the new. This new year’s dinner could be in a restaurant, as they usually offer dinners and shows. Or it could be at home.If it’s at home, families can buy the dishes from restaurants, because a lot of places sell food for this special occasion.

But a lot of Mexican families actually prefer to cook themselves. Your family could use this opportunity to try a new meal from a Spanish-speaking country. One idea: try a recipe from our Christmas traditions article. Or, if you’d rather stick to a meal that’s already a family favorite, you can enlist the kids to help with cooking so you can use Spanish words and phrases in the kitchen.

In Mexico specifically, a Christmas and/or New Year’s Eve dinner is commonly composed of “romeritos con mole” (little rosemary with mole), “ensalada de manzana y bombones” (apple and marshmallows salad), “pavo” (turkey), “pierna” (pork leg), “bacalao” (cod) and a toast with “sidra” (cider).

But it’s not just Mexico, many other countries also love to celebrate with dinner at their houses. And they all have their own special dishes. Here are just a few examples.

In Argentina they eat “asado” (roast/barbecue), “pionono”, “vitel toné” and “ensalada de frutas” (fruit salad).

In Peru, they usually eat “ensalada de fideos” (noodles salad), “pavo” (turkey), “arroz árabe” (arabic rice) and “pollo a la brasa” (grilled chicken).

In Nicaragua they usually prepare “relleno navideño” (Christmas stuffing), “lomo de cerdo” (pork loin) and “sopa borracha”.

In Spain, they like to eat “cordero asado” (roast lamb) and their classic Spanish dessert, “turrón”.

In many different countries people drink “ponche” (fruit punch), which is delicious for both adults and kids.

Other New Year’s Celebrations and Traditions in Spanish Speaking Countries

Another activity to bring in the New Year that Mexicans, and other countries, do comes right after the clock strikes midnight. The guests, one by one, should grab one broom and start swiping the house all the way to the door. This means they’re swiping away the old year with the bad vibes and stuff that happened.

In Spain and other countries, it’s traditional to eat 12 green grapes (doce uvas) as the new year arrives. This is to bring good fortune. You must eat one grape with each stroke of the bell. And don’t worry, if you’re in Spain the strokes of the bell are televised, so you can follow them. You can also put twelve grapes in one dinner goblet for each member attending the dinner, so it looks fancy.

In some countries, like Mexico, they grab one goblet and as they eat, they must think of one wish per grape. If you manage to eat all the grapes, it means all your wishes will come true. Kids do this too and they actually have a lot of fun; it’s almost like a game for them.

If you’re in Madrid, take your kids to “La Puerta del Sol de Madrid”, it’s a very important central square. A lot of people go there to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
After you eat your grapes, stand up and step forward with your right foot (pie derecho). This is how Argentines start the new year off on, you guessed it, the right foot.

In Argentina, it’s also common to put huge dolls or dummies on the streets and burn them at midnight. This represents that you’re burning or getting rid of the problems and bad stuff. So you can start the new year in the best way.

If this is not possible for you and your family, you can do like in Ecuador. There, people make rag dolls and burn them as well. The dolls can have the form of a famous character that’s not very well appreciated by people, maybe a politician. This rag doll ritual is also popular in many other Hispanic countries.

In Ecuador, ringing in the new year means building a bonfire (hoguera). Now, granted, a bonfire isn’t possible at most of our homes. But you can capture the feeling of this tradition if you have a fireplace or chimenea. You and your kids can burn your lists of wishes for the new year or things you want to leave behind in the old year. Bonus points if you write your lists in Spanish!

If your family has limited your travels over the past couple of years, you may especially like this New Year’s tradition from Colombia: Carry an empty suitcase (maleta) around your block to make 2024 a year of travel and new adventures.

This ritual that attracts trips to your life it’s also done in many other countries, such as Mexico, Argentina and Ecuador. And it can also be done with the person you want to travel with. So, if you’re a parent that wants to travel with their kids, grab them and run together with the suitcase.

Do you want even more good luck for this new year, especially in terms of money? Then, do like the Peruvians and put some lentils in your pockets. This will do the trick and you won’t run out of money.

If you want to know what the new year will bring for you, just break an egg in a glass of water. Then put it on an open window and leave it there the whole night. In the morning, go watch what figure it has been created with the egg. That figure will be the representation of your future. At least, this is what they do in El Salvador.

Give sheeps as a New Year’s gift to all your loved ones. In Mexico it’s common to find that they sell sheeps during this holiday. These little “toys” have a red ribbon, a small bell or a few small coins around their necks. And they represent abundance. It’s quite common to give them to your loved ones to assure they attract money for the year ahead.

If you think about it, it’s like a good luck and well wishes gift. Tell your loved ones that it’s preferable to hang their sheep in their front doors.

We know the Best Way for Kids to Start the New Year! Build Spanish Fluency in 2024

Learning Spanish is not only fun, but also useful for all children. They’ll be able to make friends from many different Hispanic countries and find better future job opportunities. And there’s no better time to start preparing them for the future than in this new year that lies ahead.

So, enroll your kids in TruFluency Kids classes to give them the best New Year’s gift! We’re a Spanish immersion school, which means that students learn while doing daily, cool activities. They’ll sing, speak, cook and play games in Spanish.

Ready for the next step in helping your child learn Spanish in a natural and conversation-based atmosphere? Join a small online LIVE session at TruFluency Kids Spanish today! Take a trial class and then enroll your kids in our next four-week session.

There’s no better way to attract good Spanish skills into your kids’ lives than by studying with us.