Costa Rica 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.
Families in Costa Rica all gather together on New Year’s Eve around 10 in the evening. Almost everything shuts down at that point downtown, although certain tourist zones are still open. A family dinner is followed by a midnight countdown. Some families go to the beach instead, however, to eat, swim, and welcome the new year there.
There are many good-luck traditions in Costa Rica associated with the coming of a new year. Some people wear yellow underwear to gain wealth in the year ahead or read undies to find love. Casting water over your shoulder is said to get rid of bad memories while walking around the block with your suitcase should secure traveling safety. Also, you are supposed to eat 12 grapes in the final 12 seconds of the year to have 12 lucky months in the year to come!
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