¡Adiós 2016! How to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Spain

Can you believe New Year’s Eve is nearly here?! We certainly can’t! 2016 was a big year, which means we must say “adios” in a big way! Forget that yearly NYE party you attend at your neighbor’s house. Trade in your pigs-in-a-blanket for tapas, champagne for Cava and the televised ball drop for twelve live bells! We bring you the most important New Year’s Eve traditions in Spain, so you’re ready to welcome the new year (or “año nuevo”) like a Spaniard!

Go to Puerta del Sol in Madrid for the countdown

When the 12th bell strikes on the clock tower of Casa de Correos, hug your loved one and yell “FELIZ AÑO NUEVO!” The biggest celebration across Spain happens in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol, where thousands of revelers gather to celebrate the last moments of the year. While many a city across Spain celebrates the last 12 seconds of the year with the sounds of 12 bell chimes, Madrid’s clock tower is the leader of the celebration. However, don’t forget….

With every sound of the bell, eat a grape!

You’ll need 12 green grapes in total. With every chime, you must eat another grape! If you’re able to eat all 12 of the “lucky grapes,” you will have a year filled with luck! The tradition began in the late 1800’s, when grape farmers in Alicante had a surplus of grapes. They found that promoting the idea of eating 12 grapes for each bell chime was a “grape” solution! PS- You only have 12 seconds to eat 12 grapes. We recommend you buy small, seedless grapes ;)

Once the clock strikes 12, SALÚD with Cava!

The most traditional drink to celebrate the new year is Cava. However, sparkling cider and champagne is acceptable too. Anything bubbly will do!

Be sure to begin the new year on the right foot

Another superstition among many Spaniard’s is that you should take your first step of the new year on your right foot. However, there’re a few alterations of this superstition. Others believe the important “right” step is when you enter your house for the first time on the new year. Whatever it is, spending NYE (or “nochevieja”) in Spain is taking a step in the right direction!

And finally, don’t forget to wear RED underpants!

That’s right! Wearing red panties for the new year is said to bring good luck and even love. Rumor has it, it all began in the Middle Ages when red clothing was banned. It was believed to be associated with all things bad, like blood and the devil. However, many rebellious souls defied the law in secret and wore red garments underneath their clothes. They believed that it would bring light to the dark, cold winter. Fast forward to 2017: You can find a section especially dedicated to red underwear in most undergarment stores across Spain! Oh, and if you receive red underwear as a gift, superstition says you’ll have extra love heading your way this year ;) So, who’s ready to pack your red underwear and board the plane? We’ll be here saving you 12 grapes and a big ol’ glass of Cava ;)

Written by: Casie Tennin December 15, 2016    

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