New Year celebrations bring with it a lot of joy and sprinkle the entire world with magical charm of positivity, which makes the world seem like a much better place for all. New Year is a time when people stay in a positive mindset and joyous mood as this is considered a time to let the bygones be bygones and make new beginnings. Although people of different cultures and countries celebrate this occasion in different ways depending on their belief systems, customs as well as traditions, but what remains common is the underlying theme of the day, which is basically to hope for a better tomorrow.
Same is the case with regal and majestic nation of Spain that celebrates New Year with great fanfare and grandeur. Spaniards refer New Year as 'Nochevieja' which literally translates to the 'Old Night' in English. There are many fascinating and charming Spanish traditions associated with this day that add an array of enchanting festivities to the New Year celebrations held in this country. The Spanish usually like to celebrate New Year's Eve at home with close family members and only after the ringing of the 12 midnight gongs and bidding farewell to the old year, they venture out to visit homes of their loved ones. This article sheds light on various aspects of Spanish New Year.
New Year Traditions and Customs
One of the most interesting and world renowned Spanish traditions related with New Year celebrations is the eating of twelve grapes when the clock strikes 12 at midnight on New Year's Eve. This custom is believed to bring bliss, optimism, and good fortune for the coming year. This custom was first introduced in the Spanish society in the early 20th century. This unique end-of-the-year Spanish custom was an ingenious solution thought of to get rid of post-harvest grape surplus by Alicante's wine makers in around 1909. Nowadays, this tradition has become such a rage that it is observed by each and every Spaniard. Thus, this concept of twelve "lucky grapes" and Spanish New Year has become tantamount with each other.
Another significant tradition that Spanish people follow on this day is listening to the twelve gongs of the huge clock located at Puerta Del Sol in Madrid; the number of people watching the countdown live is huge and millions other across the nation listen and see it through live televised programs. With each of the 12 chimes of the clock (12 seconds), a grape is eaten that symbolizes each month of the coming year. As per the custom, it is believed that each sweet grape signifies that the month it denotes to would be filled with happiness and if any turns out sour, then one should be vary of that month, as luck might not be on one's side during that time.
None leave their homes without observing each of the above mentioned customs and once the clock has struck twelve and all the grapes have been eaten, people wish each other a very happy New Year by hugging and kissing each other. The traditional toast of New Year is made with sparkling Spanish "cava", traditional champagne that comes from Catalunya. Cinder is another favored drink on this occasion. One more New Year tradition that is enthusiastically followed by Spaniards is cutting of a special ring-shaped cake at midnight. While preparing the cake, the cook places certain lucky charms and gifts inside the cake and whosoever finds these in their portion of the cake is believed to have luck in his/her favor for the next year.
New Year Celebrations
The New Year celebrations involve grand feasts enjoyed by all family members together. The traditional delicacies served on this occasion usually consist of shrimp, lamb or turkey. People wear new clothes to celebrate the year and many attend midnight mass held at various churches across the country. Once the traditions are taken care of, youngsters venture out to attend vivacious parties held at various pubs and discothèques, which usually last throughout the night. However, all family members make it a point to have the first breakfast of the year together, wherein scrumptious dishes, like chocolate con churros (hot chocolate and fried pastry), are served.
However, everything pales when compared with spectacular fireworks and crackers displays that are setoff on New Year's Eve across the country. It is a common belief that light and noise drives away the evil spirits. Huge vibrant and spirited public celebrations of New Year can be witnessed in major cities of Spain like Madrid, Barcelona and other places. People throng to these areas in large numbers and indulge in dancing as well as various musical performances. One can spot groups of energetic youngsters dressed in luminescent costumes dancing on the streets immersed in the New Year revelry all over Spain.
New Year is ushered in Spain amidst intriguing customs and exhilarating celebrations.