New Year’s Day is a holiday in Argentina as part of celebrations that start 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.
Argentina borrows New Year’s traditions from various sources, but in general, they stem from Spain and Roman Catholicism.
A late night family dinner takes place on New Year’s Eve, and people toast together at midnight. They eat pan dulce, or “sweet bread”, and turron, which is a honey laden nougat treat made with egg whites and toasted almonds. Turron joined Argentinian culture due to the influence of Italian immigrants.
One old tradition is for people to run around the block carrying a suitcase to bring themselves good luck and much travel in the year ahead, while others eat plenty of beans to ensure they will keep or find gainful employment. One tradition stemming from Native American sources is to take a swim in a river or lake.
At midnight, people go outside their homes and watch as kids and others in the neighbourhood set off a barrage of fireworks. They get together with neighbours and dance, sing, and party all the way till dawn.
On New Year’s Day, many head to mass to pray and thank God for the year before, while asking His blessings on the year ahead. In the afternoon, New Year’s Day is a time for family picnics. Also, grandparents and senior citizens will typically give sweets and small gifts to young children on 1 January.