El Año Nuevo celebrates the arrival of the New Year and la Nochevieja says goodbye to the old. In much of the Spanish-speaking world, traditions include making a toast, exchanging a kiss or hug, or eating twelve grapes—one for each stroke of midnight—to ensure your wishes come true for the New Year. Other good luck traditions include wearing yellow or red, eating a tablespoon of lentils, or carrying a suitcase around the block if you hope to take a trip. To wish someone a happy New Year, say ¡Feliz año nuevo! or ¡Próspero año nuevo!
On Nochevieja, there are also traditions for saying goodbye to the old year. Some people dress in masks representing el año viejo. Others build satirical figures called los años viejos that represent famous people or politicians. Adorned with poems or messages that poke fun at el año viejo, and filled with shavings and firecrackers, these figures are lit on fire at midnight, to burn and explode on street corners, as a final despedida, or farewell, to the old year.