Puerto Rico is an amazingly beautiful island, and an incorporated territory of United States. It celebrates its New Year in concord with the rest of the United States on January 1. New Year is also referred as ‘Año Nuevo’ in Puerto Rico. New Years Eve, which is observed a day before on December 31, is a gala affair in Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico has its most of the New Years Eve celebrations planned around family and friends. The real party begins in the late evening time.
The rest of the day on New Years Eve remains engaged in cleaning the house, preparing for the celebrations, washing cars, and sometimes even cleaning the neighborhood streets. Clean environment is a very important aspect of celebrations and New Years Eve in Puerto Rico. People hold a belief that the condition in which one keeps himself as well as the surrounding around during the time of the arrival of the New Year is the condition with which one will remain destined with for the rest of the year.
Therefore, people make sure to turn everything look clean, and also change anything, if it broken or damage or outmoded. Other than cleaning the house, the morning time on New Years Eve gets passed in decorating the house and street. One usually put up illuminating lights, along with sparkling silver and gold colored ribbons, colorful balloons, and waves. Also, relaxing at the Amadores beach or many other beaches stretching along the Caribbean Sea, or making a short trip to the dense rain forests are some of the preferred plans adopted by many during the time of New Years Eve. Usually, it is a good way to loosen up, before gearing up for the evening celebrations is another preferred option, pleasantly adopted by many.
Irrespective of the festival or nature opf celebration, people in Puerto Rico love to set off fireworks. In most of the cities of Puerto Rico, setting off fireworks is common during the time of New Years Eve. Most of the people in Puerto Rico consider it as an important and intrinsic part of celebrations on New Years Eve. People usually prefer to have ‘estrellitas’, which are long, dark, and thin, stick like substances, which are burn at the one end, and the other hand is used for handling it. They don’t create noise, and are considered as safe and colorful for even small children. Burning them during the New Years Eve is a favorite way to mark one’s contentment for the moment.
Also, music remains the driver of the celebrations of the evening. People usually pay loud music and then dance on them. In some of the places in Puerto Rico, such as in the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, planned celebrations take place, which includes a fireworks show at midnight, live music performances (usually Latin music), and some great recipes of the Puerto Rico food on the menu. Being a community based celebration, lots of people along with their families show up to spend some great time in the evening.
There is a New Years Eve tradition of eating twelve grapes, as soon as the clock at the midnight rings twelve. Each of the twelve grapes is considered to symbolize for a month of the coming year. Eating them at midnight, while making a wish, is considered to be auspicious. Also, it is believed that all wishes of a person come true by doing so. After this, one gets busy in exchanging New Year wishes with one another by saying ‘Happy New Year!’ or ‘Prospero Año Nuevo!’. A toast of Cidra is raised for the New Year, and everyone share hugs and kisses, which are the most common form of expressions and one’s love for others.
There is also a tradition of singing a poem of ‘El Brindis del Bohemio’ after the midnight arrives. Usually, the parties organized at home have bacalaitos in its menu, because apart from being an inexpensive dish, it is also considered as the true Puerto Rico party dish.