New Year’s Eve in Spain is known as Nochevieja (old night) and it is an awesome time to visit Spain. It is a time of fiestas, traditions, and superstitions.
One well known and followed superstition is wearing red underwear on New Year’s eve. It is apparently an important step to bring good luck, especially if you are looking for love.
After a meal at home or a restaurant with family and friends, you head out to the town square where every one gathers to celebrate the new year. City hall usually offers a complimentary ‘pack’, consisting of a small bottle of Cava, a bag of twelve grapes and an assortment of funny paper hats, noses, moustaches and noise makers.
One of the biggest Spanish New Year’s traditions to bring more luck to the year ahead, is to eat one grape on every chime of the last 12 seconds of the year so that by the time it strikes midnight, you will have eaten a total of 12 grapes. Many supermarkets sell a small package of 12 grapes ready for you to bring to your party.
Cava, the deliciously dry Spanish “champagne”, is, of course, the most popular beverage to celebrate with at New Year’s Eve. The new year is officially welcomed as the clock strikes midnight by raising your glass of Cava and toasting the new year.
Some Spaniards put a gold object at the bottom of their glass, like a piece of jewelry or a coin, to bring them good luck and wealth for the year ahead. The idea is to drink the whole glass of Cava in one go and collect your golden object at the end.
The origin of the twelve grapes tradition goes back to 1909, when the grape growers in Alicante thought it was a great way to get rid of their huge production surplus that year. The idea caught on and now, almost every Spaniard observes the tradition. This habit of the 19th century has now been extended to several spanish speaking countries such as Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Costa Rica.
The city will usually have a magnificent display of fireworks to ring in the new year and immediately after that and many people in Spain believe that the correct way to begin the New Year is with your right foot as in ‘start on the right foot,’ or the Spanish saying, ‘enter with the right foot.’ So when you walk away from the fireworks or step down from the dinner table, make sure it’s with your right foot; that way you can start the year the right way and bring luck for the future.
The next morning, the traditional breakfast is hot chocolate and ‘churros’, a delicious deep-fried pastry which you dip in a thick hot chocolate. Simply divine!
On New Year’s Day many Spaniards will enjoy a lunch of lentil and chorizo (a delicious slightly spicy sausage) soup or stew. Lentils represent small coins and are said to bring prosperity.
I have read that throughout the day, certainly well into the afternoon, you will invariably see people wandering around town still dressed to the nines with party hats and all, although by this time looking a little disheveled. The Spaniards sure love a good party, and I sure love them for that!!
Terry and I will be on the Balcón of Europa in Nerja tonight for New Year’s eve. There will be live music, fireworks, Cava, the famous 12 grapes and dancing until the early hours I am told. I will be sure to let you know how the night went.
Happy New Year everyone! Feliz Año Nuevo! Feliz 2018!!