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¡Feliz Año Nuevo! New Year’s Traditions from Spanish-Speaking Countries
by Cierra Campbell, Middle School Spanish Teacher

Before heading off to their much-deserved winter breaks, 8th Grade Spanish students took a moment to explore New Year’s traditions and celebrations in a variety of Spanish-speaking countries. With a partner, students chose two countries to compare. For each country, they read a news article detailing New Year’s traditions before creating a Venn diagram to compare the similarities and differences between the two countries. Students had fun deciphering new traditions from their chosen countries (Eating spoonfuls of lentils! Wearing yellow underwear! Carrying an empty suitcase around the block!) and learning about their classmates’ discoveries from other countries.

Following a class comparison, students used their newfound knowledge to interpret New Year’s-themed memes and comics. To wrap up the class and the year 2021, students practiced ringing in the New Year with two traditions. The first was the tradition of eating 12 grapes during the 12 second countdown before midnight. For each grape, students made a wish for the New Year and tried to taste if each grape was sweet or sour. A sweet grape could foretell a good month in the new year and a sour grape could mean a challenging month. The second tradition was that of burning the old year. On scraps of paper, students wrote down 3 to 5 challenges from 2021. Then, as a class, they walked out to the Middle School breezeway and took turns lighting the negativity of the old year and watching it burn to ashes, as they welcomed the new year with positivity and hope.

As we start a fresh new year, we hope that all of your months ahead are sweet, and that all negativity has burned away to make room for a 2022 full of hope and positivity!

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