The Spanish Language Blog

Spanish holidays

Spain has an enormous number of holidays. Most of these Spanish holidays are celebrated according to tradition every year. So is New Year's Eve in Spain. Spain has some pretty distinct traditions, customs and practices that are celebrated during New Year's Eve. New Year's Eve is celebrated big and elaborately in Spain, and in Spanish fashion, New Year's Eve celebrations also start relatively late.

New Year's Eve in Spanish is called "Noche Vieja," the old night. On New Year's Eve, most Spaniards stay home with the whole family until noon. In Spain, New Year's Eve begins with a very elaborate dinner with the whole family. After dinner, most Spaniards move to one of the city squares. The most famous square in Spain to celebrate New Year's Eve is Puerto del Sol in Madrid. As such, this is the centerpiece of Spanish New Year's Eve. Around noon, all eyes are on the clock on the Puerta del Sol. This clock is also shown on television so everyone can join in with "Las Uvas de La Suerte" tradition.

Spanish traditions

'Las Uvas de La Suerte' is a Spanish tradition that originated in 1909 when grape growers in Alicante could not get rid of their grapes and shared them out. At noon, grapes are hawked. One grape per chime, for 12 chimes. If you manage to eat twelve grapes before the 12 chimes are over, you will have good luck and prosperity in the coming year. Each grape equals one month of the year.

After the grapes are duly processed, everyone wishes each other a Happy New Year and, as in the Netherlands, champagne is toasted. Increasingly popular is cava, which is a Spanish champagne. Different grapes are used for cava than for champagne. And because it is made domestically, cava is often cheaper than champagne.

Besides "Las Uvas de La Suerte," for women, wearing red underwear such as a bra or socks would also ensure happiness in love in the coming year. However, this underwear must be gifted.

Unlike in the Netherlands, fireworks are not used in Spain as in the Netherlands specifically for New Year's Eve. In Spain, fireworks can be bought all year round, and fireworks are therefore more something for summer celebrations than just for New Year's Eve. After wishing each other a "Feliz Año Nuevo," a happy New Year, the younger generation goes into town. As in the Netherlands, they party until the early hours. And what could be tastier than typical Spanish churros with hot chocolate.

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