New Year’s Eve in Spain
Cotillón típico de Nochevieja
In Spain, 31 December is a very special celebration, where the fun and partying go on well into the early hours. If you want to get the year off to a good start, then come and celebrate New Year’s Eve in Spain. You will have a great time eating the traditional “lucky grapes”… And the rest of the night too!
Would you like to know how we see in the New Year in Spain? Eating twelve grapes. Tradition has it that you have to eat them one by one, in time with the striking of the clock at midnight on 31 December. What is more, if you manage to eat all the grapes on time, you are in for a year of prosperity and good luck. Whether or not you believe in magic, come and try the experience – it is great fun.
The eating of grapes is the high point of New Year’s Eve. In fact, the striking of the clock is broadcast live on television throughout Spain. On this day, family or friends usually get together for a delicious dinner and then the twelve grapes. In many villages, towns and cities, people head to squares or other emblematic places with a clock to eat them together and share the last minutes of the “old” year. If you would like to take part, head for the local tourist office for full details.
The striking of the clock in Puerta del Sol Square
In Spain there is one place that is especially famous for this tradition: Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid. Thousands of people converge in front of the clock here to see in the New Year, and the square becomes one huge party. The atmosphere is amazing: confetti, music and streamers everywhere; people dressed up with wigs, hats and masks; and above all, everyone is up for a good time.
After eating the grapes there is a mass explosion of joy. Bottles of cava are uncorked and everyone toasts everyone else, friends, family and the people around. Laughter, jokes, congratulations… This is just the beginning though – hours and hours of fun remain. You will see that it is impossible not to be carried away by the excitement.
Tips to bear in mind
The streets fill with groups of young people, music and cars that greet the New Year with their horns. At pubs, bars and clubs there are New Year’s parties with dancing through to dawn. There are also many hotels and restaurants that organise special celebrations, including dinner, grapes, dancing and entertainment. If you decide to go for one of these, you should buy your ticket or book your table in advance.
Remember that timetables for public transport services tend to be affected. For example, on the night of 31 December, bus and metro services normally finish earlier than usual, and start later on the morning of the 1st. Furthermore, if you need a taxi at New Year it is best to order it in advance by telephone, because there is so much demand.
How long do the New Year celebrations last? Until your body gives up. To finish off the night, before you go to bed, there is nothing better to recover your strength than having the traditional hot chocolate with churros (flour fritters). They will taste delicious! On the following day, New Years Day, you can take it easy – the shops are closed and most bars and restaurants too. A stroll in the park or an afternoon cinema session are ideal.
Would you like to try an original New Year’s Eve? Then come and eat grapes in Spain. You will have an unforgettable fiesta.