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Portuguese New Year's superstitions

Portuguese New Year's superstitions

As the festive season approaches, it's customary to reflect on the wishes for the New Year. In Portugal, New Year's Eve is a blend of tradition, superstition, and hope, marked by ancient customs aimed at ensuring prosperity for the coming year. Against the backdrop of fireworks illuminating the sky, the Portuguese engage in time-honored rituals, each laden with symbolism and anticipation for the months ahead.

From the significance of the color of underwear to bold actions like standing on a chair with the right foot, these rituals are deeply rooted in Portuguese culture, embodying the collective desire for good fortune and positive outcomes in the year to come.

Join us as we explore some of the most enduring superstitions observed on New Year's Eve in Portugal.

Colorful underwear for a happy new year

New Year's Eve in Portugal carries a touch of magic, beginning with a special tradition: the choice of underwear. It is customary for the Portuguese to welcome the new year wearing new colored underwear, with blue being the preferred hue.

The act of donning fresh undergarments, especially in the auspicious color of blue, symbolizes a desire for renewal, good fortune, and positive energies as they embark on the journey of a new year. 

This tradition is a delightful and symbolic way for people in Portugal to set the tone for a fresh start and hopeful beginnings.

The twelve grapes of good fortune

As the clock strikes midnight, a beloved tradition unfolds in Portugal: the New Year's Eve ritual of eating twelve raisins. With each raisin consumed in sync with the twelve strokes of midnight, this practice symbolically represents the twelve months of the approaching year. The act is believed to usher in prosperity and happiness for each month, making it a cherished and symbolic way for the Portuguese to greet the New Year. 

This ritual, marked by the rhythmic consumption of raisins, adds a delightful and communal aspect to the New Year's Eve celebration in Portugal.

Climbing a chair with your right foot: A step towards luck

A curious and symbolic custom observed by many Portuguese during the transition to the New Year is the act of climbing onto a chair with the right foot at midnight. This gesture is believed to represent taking a step toward a year filled with luck and success. It is a superstitious practice that adds an element of lightheartedness to the New Year's Eve celebration, as individuals in Portugal engage in this act with the hope that it will set a positive and fortunate tone for the coming year. 

The blend of tradition and superstition makes this quirky ritual a unique and playful part of Portuguese New Year's festivities.

Making noise with pots and pans: Driving away evil spirits

As the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve in Portugal, a lively and festive tradition takes center stage: the joyful cacophony created by the clattering of pots and pans. This exuberant noise-making ritual extends beyond mere celebration; it is deeply rooted in the belief that the tumultuous sounds serve as a deterrent to evil spirits and negative energies.

The act of making noise is seen as a symbolic gesture to ward off any lingering malevolent influences, ensuring a fresh and positive start to the New Year. By engaging in this spirited tradition, the Portuguese express their collective intent to chase away negativity and welcome the coming year with optimism, joy, and a vibrant burst of sound.

The enduring customs passed down from generation to generation stand as a testament to the profound belief of the Portuguese people in their ability to positively influence their destiny. As families gather to welcome the New Year, these superstitions add a special and meaningful dimension to the celebrations.

Whether these rituals are observed with unwavering conviction or embraced for the joy they bring, they undeniably contribute to creating a unique and hopeful atmosphere for the year ahead.

As Portugal prepares to welcome new year, the blend of optimism, tradition, and a touch of magic reflects the cultural richness and collective spirit that define the New Year celebrations in this enchanting country. May the coming year be filled with joy, prosperity, and positive energy for all.

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