How Costa Rica Celebrates New Year’s Eve? 6 Interesting Facts You Don’t Know

Curious to know how Costa Rica Celebrates New Year’s Eve? In this post, we’ll take you on a tour of the wonderful customs and exciting celebrations that make New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica one you won’t soon forget. 

Learn how the people of Costa Rica celebrate the start of a new year with fireworks, community, and a little enchantment through the rhythmic beats of traditional dances. 

Get ready to experience the vibrant culture of Costa Rica as we delve into the unique traditions of welcoming in the New Year there.

How Costa Rica Celebrates New Year’s Eve?

Costa Rica’s New Year’s Traditions

Costa Ricans have a deep-rooted appreciation for their cultural heritage, which is evident in how they celebrate New Year’s. 

The customs and traditions passed down through generations create a sense of unity and joy among the people. 

The celebrations begin days before the actual event, as families and communities come together to prepare for the arrival of the new year.

Preparing for the New Year

Decorating Homes and Streets

One of the first things you’ll notice in Costa Rica during the New Year’s season is the colorful decorations that adorn homes and streets. 

People hang lights, streamers, and balloons, creating a festive atmosphere everywhere you go. 

The vibrant colors symbolize the joy and hope associated with the upcoming year.

Making Traditional Food

Food plays a central role in Costa Rican culture, and New Year’s Eve is no exception. Families come together to prepare traditional dishes such as tamales and arroz con pollo (rice with chicken). 

These meals are often passed down from generation to generation, and their preparation is a cherished family tradition.

Buying Fireworks

Fireworks are an integral part of the New Year’s celebrations in Costa Rica. As the clock strikes midnight, the night sky is illuminated with dazzling displays of light and color. 

Fireworks symbolize the excitement and anticipation for the new year, and they are enjoyed by people of all ages.

Also Read: Best New Year’s Eve Cruises for this year

New Year’s Eve Celebrations

Family Gatherings

New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica is primarily a time for families to come together and celebrate. Relatives gather in homes or attend special events organized in public spaces. 

This sense of unity and togetherness is a fundamental aspect of Costa Rican culture and is particularly emphasized during this festive season.

Midnight Rituals

At the stroke of midnight, Costa Ricans partake in various rituals to bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new one. 

Some families burn effigies or “muñecos” representing the past year’s troubles, symbolizing a fresh start. 

Others write down their hopes and dreams for the upcoming year and then burn the papers, symbolically releasing their wishes into the universe.

Fireworks Spectacles

As mentioned earlier, fireworks are a significant part of the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Costa Rica. Municipalities organize large-scale fireworks spectacles in major cities and towns. 

These displays attract crowds of locals and tourists alike, who gather to witness the stunning pyrotechnic shows and welcome the new year with awe and excitement.

Twelve Grapes Tradition

A unique tradition observed in Costa Rica is the Twelve Grapes Tradition. As the clock counts down to midnight, it is customary for individuals to eat twelve grapes, one for each chime of the bell. 

Each grape represents a wish for the upcoming year. This tradition is believed to bring good luck and prosperity to those who participate.

Also Read: Things to do in Dallas On New Year’s Eve

Traditional Dances and Music

Music and dance are integral to Costa Rican culture and are prominent features of New Year’s Eve celebrations. Traditional folk dances, such as the “punto guanacasteco” and “cimarrona,” are performed during gatherings and public festivities. 

These dances, accompanied by lively music played on traditional instruments, create an atmosphere of joy and celebration.

Welcoming the New Year

Traditional Clothing

Some Costa Ricans wear traditional clothing during the New Year’s festivities. 

Women may don colourful, embroidered dresses called “polleras,” while men opt for white shirts and pants paired with a straw hat called a “guanaco.”

 These traditional outfits reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage and add an extra touch of authenticity to the celebrations.

First Sunrise of the Year

Many Costa Ricans start the new year by witnessing the first sunrise. They gather at beaches, mountains, or other scenic locations to welcome the new year’s dawn. 

Watching the sunrise is seen as a symbolic act of embracing new beginnings and the opportunities that lie ahead.


  1. How long do Costa Ricans celebrate New Year’s Eve?

 Costa Ricans typically celebrate New Year’s Eve throughout the night and into the early hours of New Year’s Day.

  1. Are there any religious ceremonies associated with New Year’s in Costa Rica?

While Costa Rica is predominantly Catholic, religious ceremonies specifically associated with New Year’s are not commonly practiced.

  1. What is the significance of the twelve grapes tradition? 

The twelve grapes tradition is believed to bring good luck and prosperity. Each grape represents a wish for the upcoming year.

  1. Can tourists participate in the local celebrations? 

Absolutely! Costa Ricans are known for their warm hospitality, and tourists are welcomed to join in the local celebrations and experience the rich culture of the country.

  1. Is it common to make New Year’s resolutions in Costa Rica? 

Yes, making New Year’s resolutions is a common practice in Costa Rica, as it is in many other parts of the world. Individuals set personal goals and aspirations for the new year, focusing on self-improvement and positive changes.


Costa Rica’s New Year’s celebrations are a vibrant blend of traditions, family gatherings, and cultural festivities. From the colorful decorations to the spectacular fireworks displays, every aspect of the celebrations reflects the country’s rich cultural heritage and the optimism associated with the arrival of a new year.

As the clock strikes midnight, Costa Ricans join together to bid farewell to the past and welcome the future with hope and joy. Whether it’s the traditional dances, the twelve grapes tradition, or the warmth of family gatherings, New Year’s in Costa Rica is a time of unity, love, and celebration.

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