Puerto Rico celebrates New Year’s Day with a public holiday every 1 January, as does most of the rest of the world. However, the celebrations really begin on New Year’s Eve and reach a high point with the turning of the clock from 11:59pm on 31 December to midnight on 1 January.
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New Year’s Day is a time of resolutions and starting fresh for some, while for others it is spent recovering from a big, late night spent with friends and family.
In Puerto Rico, the coming of a new year is a time for jubilation. But it is also a time for doing all in your power to ensure good luck will follow you as you pass from the old year into the new one.
Traditionally, tossing a bucket full of water out your window is seen as a way of ridding the premises of evil spirits. Spreading sugar granules around just outside your home is thought to make the new year sweet. And falling backwards into the ocean just as the clock strikes midnight is also supposed to keep away foul spirits and all the bad luck they might bring.
As with all Puerto Rican holidays, food plays a big role on New Year’s Day and Eve. The main traditional dishes served include roast pig, called “lechon”, rice pudding, a snack called “pasteles”, and arroz con gandules, which consists of rice, peas, and pork in a kind of casserole.