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New Year – Año Nuevo

New Year / Año Nuevo

Celebrating the New Year / Año Nuevo is a big night for all. Some people get all dressed up and go out to a big party with Champagne and all the glitz and glitter that bring in the new year is known for. Others just go out to their local Colmado (corner store) and party the night away with the neighbors. Of course, there are those that prefer to just stay home and bring in the new year quietly and peacefully.


Some of the old-time traditions for bringing in the Nuevo Año in the Dominican Republic.

*One should clear out the old and start the new year fresh and clean. The house needs to be scrubbed from top to bottom All drawers need to be cleaned out. All this cleaning brings good luck.

*Different colors mean different things. Wear the color that brings the wish for the coming year you want to come true. Green/ Verde helps out with the money situation, Red/ Rojo brings a bright future, Yellow/ Amarillo makes work better, White/ Blanco is for good health.

House painting on Calle Duarte
House painting on Calle Duarte

*You may notice that many of the homes get a new coat of paint for the holidays. This is part of the cleaning everything and making way for the new.


*When the clock strikes 12 make sure the doors and windows are open wide so the last years spirit can get out freely and the new one can enter.

A palm frond broom sitting outside on New Years Eve
A broom sitting outside on New Years Eve.

*At the end of the year you have to throw out your old brooms. Any broom you happen to have in the home needs to be placed in a corner of the house. Remember to leave the new broom outside overnight before bringing it into the house. I’m not sure why just to be safe you best do it.

*Never sweep the house on New Year’s Day. You may end up sweeping your luck away with the dirt.

*The traditional Christmas dinner is also served on New Years.


*Make sure to have 12 grapes / uvos per person. For each toll of the clock or each month of the year you need to eat a grape and make a wish for the coming year.

*If you are a Catholic you need to have a priest come and bless the house or at least give it a good dousing of holy water.

A typical Jumera with carbon inside to cleanse the air to bring in the new year
A typical Jumera with carbon inside to cleanse the air to bring in the new year.

*You need to burn some incense to purifying the home on the eve of the New Year. This tradition goes way back to the native Taino Indians that lived on the island. Many people use a “Jumera”. The most typical is made from a can with carbon/ charcoal inside. It comes with a small pouch of scent specifically for good luck and chasing away the bad spirits and some sticks for lighting.

* ew Years Day is usually spent resting and recovering from the all night parties. Many just take it easy and spend some time with family or visiting the church to pray for the coming year to be a good one.