Mexico City's central square, the Zocalo, the largest in Latin America.
Mexico City’s central square, the Zocalo, the largest in Latin America.

Travellers visiting Mexico around the Christmas seasonmight like to take a trip to Mexico City for its wonderful New Year’s Eve celebrations. Indeed, those who have already booked a Christmas break in the sunny beach resort of Cancun, can, to avoid the hazardous drive, opt to take a short flight on to Mexico City to experience the unique New Year’s Eve celebrations.

The real celebrations commence after most Mexicans have enjoyed a late-night family meal together. In Mexico City, there is a massive street festival which centers around the Zocalo (city square or, literally, pedestal or stand). This is one of the largest and most famous spots in Mexico and, at 830 x 500 feet, it’s one of the largest public squares in the world with a large Mexican flag as its centerpiece.

These amazing celebrations feature fireworks, sparklers and firecrackers and when the clock strikes midnight, shouts of “Feliz Año Nuevo” (Happy New Year) ring around the square and people share warm embraces all round. This is said to raise one’s spirits and make a person feel part of something very special.

Visitors to Mexico will be able to savour the special food and customs that are particular to Christmas and New Year. For example, a Mexican New Year staple isbacalao or dried salted codfish, and popular New Year’s Eve toasts are sparkling cider or a hot punch called ponche.

There are some interesting Mexican New Year’s customs to learn about too. For example, Mexicans eat 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight, and as they eat each one, they make a wish for the coming year. This has to be completed within a minute of the New Year’s arrival. To receive good luck in love in the coming year, Mexicans (and visitors!) can wear red underwear, while for good luck in money it’s recommended to wear yellow. And for those who have a desire to travel in the New Year all they have to do is to get out some luggage…

New Year’s Day is comparatively quiet as people recover from the previous night’s festivities. This presents a great opportunity to visit the fantastic architecture in the city (including El Ángel, Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Metropolitan Cathedral) and visit the ancient holy city capital of Teotihuacan, situated some 50 km north-east of Mexico City.

However, if travellers wish to stay at the beach resort of Cancun for New Year’s Eve, they won’t miss out on the fun as this holiday resort city is also bursting with clubs and parties.