New Year’s Eve is celebrated across the globe, but nowhere in the world do people love to party on the last day of the year as much as in Latin America. Here’s a look at some of the foods and customs – think lentils, buñuelos and roast pork – that are traditional to New Year’s Eve celebrations in Central and South America.
In Brazil, the celebration – called Réveillon – is a coast-to-coast party with fireworks, concerts and parades as cities compete to offer the best festivities. Brasileños dress in white and observe other rituals like lighting candles and sending them off to sea in boats as offerings to Iemanja, the goddess of the sea, as a way to earn blessings for the upcoming year. And food plays an important role in the country’s traditions: lentils are prepared for good health, while pork and fish are consumed as entrees. And if you’re hoping to have lots of cash in the New Year, tradition dictates that by midnight you must eat seven raisins and place the seeds in your wallet to ensure it will never be empty. Check out the recipe for warm lentil salad here.
Turkey and chicken are the proteins of choice in Peruvian celebrations of New Year’s Eve and a glass of pisco sour is enjoyed during the evening meal as well. And potatoes also play an important part of Peruvian traditions, although perhaps not as you’d think. Three potatoes – one peeled, signifying no money, one with its skin to convey plenty and one partially peeled to predict a “regular” year – are played under a chair and without looking, guests are invited to choose one. The potato you choose is considered a means by which to predict the year but if you don’t have potatoes, you can also eat 12 grapes as the clock strikes 12 to ensure good luck for year month of the year. Check out Chef Ximena Llosa’s recipe for pork loin with mango chutney here.