World News

Spanish Tradition: New Year’s Eve in Spain

Written by Paloma Arraiza

Every country in the world has its own traditions for New Year’s Eve. However, Spanish people do something slightly different: they eat twelve grapes while hearing twelve peals. Everything must be synchronised, one has to eat the grapes at the pace of these peals (issued by the clock from the Puerta del Sol in Madrid).

For those who cannot travel to Madrid, the Spanish Radio and Television Corporation televise the entire process. Families get ready at home and the usual greeting is ‘Happy New Year and do not choke on the grapes!’

This tradition dates back to 1909, a year with an abundant grape harvest. Producers of grapes needed to sell a bigger amount and decided to advertise the grapes as ‘grapes of luck’. Currently, the collective belief is that they are a symbol of abundance and each grape is a wish (twelve wishes in total).

Everyone follows this tradition, regardless political ideas, religion or races. Those who do not like grapes eat small chocolate balls, and the fittest ones might do twelve push-ups, but everyone is together with family and friends. Even the 80’s band ‘Mecano’ dedicated a song to this date and to the fact that ‘Spaniards, big men or short men, do for once something together.’ (Last sentence of the chorus).

The list of places one can visit for New Year’s Eve in Spain can be infinite, but here there are three special recommendations:

  1. Puerta del Sol, Madrid

A huge amount of people congregate here, to eat their twelve grapes at the pace of the main clock. There is even a test the day before to prove that the speed is adequate and that everything works. Nochevieja (New Year’s Eve) is such an event!

  1. Plaça d’Espanya, Barcelona

Barcelona is the place to enjoy a multimedia spectacle, where music, fireworks and lights mix. The crowd goes from Plaça d’Espanya to Monjuïc, including an amazing fountain, where a water and lights spectacle is displayed.

  1. Plaza del Carmen, Granada

Last but not least, the Townhall square in Granada is also a picturesque place to celebrate New Year’s Eve and go for a walk in this arabesque southern city.

Happy New Year!

 

 

About the author

Paloma Arraiza

Paloma was born in 1989 in Southern Spain. She is currently working on her PhD in Brazil, where she is experiencing a different culture. As a passionate language learner, she could discover several cultures and lifestyles, while enjoying multi-cultural atmospheres. She has been living in three countries so far, and visited many more. In 2016, she began teaching Spanish as a second language, what allows her to know more about other cultures and backgrounds, this time thorough her students’ eyes.
As a traveller and multi-culture lover, she aims to exchange experiences and points of views to broaden her horizons.
When she isn’t teaching or learning, her other passions include being outside enjoying nature, travelling, reading books about any topic (preferably written by women with varied backgrounds) and knitting (yes, one of those ‘Grandma’s hobbies”).