Traditional Cuban New Years Guide

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Raúl Musibay: A Cuban New Year's Eve and Day are celebrated just like they are in the U.S. 

Glenn Lindgren: Only New Year's Eve is more of a dance party than a feast like Christmas.

Jorge Castillo: The children spend the days leading up to New Year's Eve building and dressing the "Año Viejo." This is a type of scarecrow – dressed up in old clothes and stuffed with paper, magazines and anything else that will burn.

Raúl Musibay: These sit on the front porches of the houses throughout the day waiting to be burned at midnight.

Glenn Lindgren: The Año Viejo doll represents of all the bad things that happened during the past year. By burning the doll, you are destroying these bad things of the past and welcoming the fresh start of the new year.


Jorge Castillo: At midnight everyone carries their Año Viejo doll into the street and sets it on fire.

Raúl Musibay: It's a good way for the children to celebrate and say good bye to the old year. 

Jorge Castillo: At midnight, it's customary to eat twelve grapes (one for each month) and drink cider.

Glenn Lindgren: You're supposed to eat one grape with each stroke of the clock chime, so you have to eat them pretty fast!

Glenn Lindgren: Don't forget the fireworks.

Jorge Castillo: Yes, you can buy fireworks all over Miami during the weeks of Christmas and New Year's. Bottle rockets, firecrackers and every firework (the noisier the better) imaginable is shot off at midnight.

Glenn Lindgren: Many people wait until the Año Viejo doll is ablaze before setting off the fireworks. It's quite a sight with dolls burning, fireworks exploding, and everyone shouting "¡Próspero Año Nuevo!" (Happy New Year).


Raúl Musibay: We also have a tradition of taking a bucket of water, running out to the street and dumping it. That's very typical.

Jorge Castillo: The symbolism is throwing out the dirty water accumulated over the past year and starting fresh and clean.

Glenn Lindgren: Yes, and the water comes in real handy if one of your fireworks lands in the neighbor's garbage can! 

Tossing out the water to welcome in the New Year!

Carry on the tradition of a Cuban New Year's Eve party! Organize a New Year's Eve Celebration of your own!


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