The New Year is always a time for some superstitions. We all have wishes for the coming year, from improving your health to finding the love of your life - all dreams are valid. However, to kick off the year in a positive way, there are some traditions that most Portuguese keep during New Year's Eve.

Blue underwear

Many colours are associated with different dreams and wishes for the New Year, but blue underwear is a must for all Portuguese on New Year's Eve. For the Portuguese, it is important to wear new blue underwear for the first time that night. It starts with the underwear, but it can go further to the pyjamas or the sheets where they will sleep that night.

Why is this? Well, the Portuguese believe it will bring health and good luck, but the origin of the superstition is unknown.

Eating 12 raisins

Even if we don't like the taste of raisins, the Portuguese generally like to eat those small, brown dried grapes because it brings good luck and that's one way of ensuring that their dreams will come true.

For every raisin you eat, you can have a wish. So please think wisely. The best thing is to write down a list and then eat a raisin and make a wish while watching the fireworks. And it's no accident that we eat 12 raisins - it's one for each month of the New Year.

Climb onto a chair with your right foot

This is also a well-known superstition that you might watch on TV as well. In order to attract good luck, it is mandatory to climb up on a chair.

However, the climb should always be made with the right foot and, if possible, with money in the hand, pocket, or foot! After all, the old Portuguese saying "entrar com o pé direito" makes sense.

Making noise with pots and pans

It is believed to be related to sending away evil spirits from the previous year. Many people who open their windows at midnight will hear the sound of pots and pans clanging, as the noise of these cooking utensils "helps to start the year well". The tradition has spread throughout the country, although it is more common in southern Portugal.

Credits: envato elements; Author: By macondoso;

Toasting with champagne

This is probably the most popular. More than just a New Year's custom, sparkling wine has accompanied celebrations for centuries. It is a tradition that came from Europe, which demanded the presence of champagne when celebrating any great achievement in life.

Although there is no official record of when exactly the tradition of toasting with sparkling wine at New Year began in Portugal, celebrating with sparkling wine brings the idea of joy to any event.

It is also said that toasting with non-alcoholic drinks takes away your good luck. However, nowadays, many people still toast with juices and even water to join in the celebration if they cannot, or prefer not, to drink alcoholic beverages.

Kissing your better half

Perhaps a must all over the world, but the Portuguese always kiss their partners at midnight. Also, the traditional Portuguese two "beijinhos" are not out of tradition. The Portuguese will probably kiss their friends and family as we wish them a happy new year.

First bath of the year

More recently, there are many people gathering for the first dip of the year in the sea. Of all ages, it is normal to see people wearing their bikinis (even if the sea gives them goosebumps) to take a dip in the sea on Day 1.

Even the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, performs this ritual every year and has already come out saying that it is energising.

Although the waters in Portugal are not as cold as in other European countries, this is still a tradition that only brave people do!

Wherever you believe in superstitions, it's always worth knowing the culture of the country where you might be spending this wonderful time of year.


Paula Martins is a fully qualified journalist, who finds writing a means of self-expression. She studied Journalism and Communication at University of Coimbra and recently Law in the Algarve. Press card: 8252

Paula Martins