Happy New Year 2021: Caribbean Traditions Across Each Island

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Happy New Year 2021: Caribbean Traditions Across Each Island

Happy New Year! While celebrations may not be their usual extravagant parties, meals out and time with friends and family, however, the New Year is still a time to be merry.

Around the world, the New Year is welcomed in very different ways, from huge fireworks displays to smashing plates, eating grapes to ringing bells.

However, as the Christmas cheer fades into celebrations on New Year’s Eve, many Caribbean families turn to old-school superstitions to secure good tidings for the year to come. In my family, I remember hearing laundry should be done before the New Year arrives. Scrubbing away bad luck was also a common practice in Trinidad, as cleanliness is next to godliness.

The Cuban culture also had a serious regimen of New Year’s good luck traditions, says Andrea (an avid IzzSo reader), “We’d walk around with suitcases at midnight on New Year’s Eve, which hopefully meant we would travel a lot in the coming year. We’d also throw a bucket of water out the door to let go of the bad things that happened that [old] year. And at midnight, we’d eat 12 grapes and make a wish with each one.”

In Haiti, one IzzSo reader shared “we always make sure we have cash in our pockets before we enter the door in our house every New Year to bring in more money.” In addition, the day also carries special significance here, as “New Year is also our Independence Day.” Among the usual festivities, one dish is essential. “We eat our soup joumou, which is a pumpkin soup.”

Jamaicans will adorn their cleanest, best outfits for a night of partying and carousing, and they usually make sure there isn’t any dirty laundry to be done by the time the clock strikes midnight.

In Dominica, some locals prefer to welcome the New Year with a healthy balance. “We go to Old Year’s midnight mass, which is quickly followed by hedonistic partying for those of us who don’t follow dem tings,” another reader shared.

In Trinidad and Tobago, many families marked the milestone in prayer. “We made sure to be in church when midnight hits to ensure blessings for the New Year and the making of black eyed peas with rice is definitely a must have.” Whether praying in pews or celebrating in the streets, this is one New Year’s tradition that remains the same across the Caribbean and the world over—marking the passing of another year together as a family and community.

Dominicans will not only clean up their homes leading up to the New Year, sometimes they’ll go as far as painting a room (or even the entire house) for good luck.

No matter which island, the Caribbean is like nowhere else in the world…Let’s be grateful and celebrate the NEW YEAR 2021!!!