Where will you be spending New Year 2016/2017 this year?
If you plan on spending it in Barcelona, then I’m sure you will be interested to know more about the traditions and customs of the city.
New Year’s Eve or “la Nochevieja” in Spanish, means ‘the old night.’ On the 31st night, family members gather to enjoy the evening meal and see in the New Year together. They prefer to have traditional dishes on the day – mostly seafood, including vegetable broths, roast suckling pig and casseroles. When the time creeps closer to midnight, they begin to gather in the streets.
The 12 Grapes tradition
Barcelona maintains rituals such as eating 12 grapes symbolising the 12 months of the coming year and good luck. Especially to the one who is Mas Macho at Midnight and up for a challenge – putting all of the twelve grapes in the mouth at one time. I have witnessed this macho game many times – the only challenge I ever saw was the poor person trying not to gag.
Don’t happen to live near a church tower, or have a clock with chimes? Then you can download an iPhone app called G-Clock that chimes on the hour with a classic “bong.” (Don’t you just love technology).
The younger members of the family celebrate the entire night with their friends – partying until the sun rises as they drink copious amounts of Cava (Spanish champagne) – but first they must partake in THE challenge…
- The Enlightened One – Neatly lines up the grapes and methodically eats them one by one, while meditating on the sound of the 12 chimes. Starts the New Year fully in alignment with oneself. Ohmmm!
- No holds barred – Embraces the New Year with gusto by shoving all of the grapes in their mouth at once and worries about swallowing them later.
- The Cheater – Anxious about getting all 12 grapes down, starts eating the first one before midnight strikes, which doesn’t count and is said to bring bad luck. But they don’t care! They don’t believe in luck.
- Prima Donna – Prepares grapes in advance by cutting them in half. Eats them with a fork from a plate. Eating the grapes by halves may be less authentic, but it is the best method for small children, and for anyone worried about looking like a total slob.
- The Show Off – Also known as “el chulo.” Sees grape eating as an extreme sport. Starts the New Year with 50 press-ups, then throws the grapes in the air and catches them in their mouth. Probably practices a month in advance too.
- Bubble Head – Makes a concerted effort to eat the grapes but cracks up, starts talking, drinking, hugging or otherwise gets distracted midway through the 12 grapes.
Once you are done with all of the festivities, one of the most popular places in Barcelona is the La Rambla, which is popular with tourists and locals alike. Even if you are staying one night, take a ramble down to the beautiful La Rambla. You simply cannot miss Gaudi’s magical creation of The Basílica Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família. It is a large Roman Catholic church, designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi.
Don’t Forget To Book Early!
You will find many beautiful hotels in Barcelona for your NY stay. Some really great ones are Best Western Hotel Dante, Best Western Alfa Aeropuerto Hotel, HR Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona, to name but a few.