New Year’s Traditions in Spain

My lucky grapes (uvas de la suerte) all lined up and ready to eat with the midnight chimes!

They say you should start a New Year the way you mean to go on, so months ago I made sure I would definitely be in Valencia to see in 2018. I am really looking forward to experiencing my first Spanish Nochevieja in my new city and trying out the fun grape eating tradition I keep hearing about!

I wanted to immerse myself in the cultural aspects of celebrating the arrival of a new year, so I asked my friends here to fill me in on the Spanish way of doing things. I had heard about the lucky grapes (yes, I really like grapes and that one stuck with me… I will explain shortly!), but it turns out that the Spaniards have a few more New Year’s Eve traditions and superstitions that sounded a bit… not odd, but definitely entertaining to me as a Brit. We don’t really have anything special that we do other than toast with some bubbly at midnight and sing along to Auld Lang Syne (the Slade version of course).

In Spain there are many more things to keep in mind if you want the coming year ahead to be a prosperous one. These are my favourite 3:

  1. Red undies for love – if you want love knocking on your door in the year ahead, wear red underwear. Apparently depending where you are in Spain the superstition is expanded with additional rules… some say the underwear must have been a gift, and others say that you have to give the pants away by the end of the night!
  2. Uvas de la suerte at midnight – lucky grapes!! At midnight you have to try to eat 12 grapes in time with the 12 campanadas (chimes) that ring in the New Year. Each grape represents a month of good luck, so the aim is to eat all 12 (in approximately 36 seconds – quite a feat) to ensure you’re all set for the year ahead. You also need to aim not to choke on the pips!
  3. Start on the right foot – this tradition is where figurative meets literal. Once again it’s all about ensuring good luck, so, to get your year off to a good start, the first step you take after midnight should be with your right foot. And, if you have been out for the night, when you get home you should cross the threshold with your right foot first as well.

Now, having been prepped on how to fully partake in the traditions of New Year’s Eve particular to Spain, my next priority is the NYE tradition particular to pretty much everywhere – PARTY!

Happy 2018 when it comes!

Henissi xx

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