How to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Spain like a Spaniard?

Article by Marc Vervoort

Spain is an excellent place to spend New Year’s eve, or Nochevieja as it’s called. Celebrate it like a Spaniard and have an amazing year ahead by following these traditions. Get ready to eat grapes and stay up till the early morning hours.

Eat 12 lucky grapes

In Spain, it isn’t Nochevieja if you don’t eat the 12 lucky grapes. On each chime of the last 12 seconds of the year, you’ll eat 1 grape. When the clock strikes midnight, and you’ve chewed and swallowed them all, it means you’ll have good fortune in the New Year. To help you, stores sell cans with 12 smaller seedless grapes, ready to be devoured by you.

Get invited to a home

The Spanish will often spend New Year’s Eve with their families, having a delicious dinner, cava, and counting down the end of the year together. If you have Spanish friends, ask if you can join them in their family celebration. You’ll love it. Put your festive outfit on and get ready for a great time.

The golden ball in Puerta del Sol

If you’re at home with friends and family, you will be tuned into the live countdown from the Puerta del Sol in Madrid. Just before midnight, a golden ball will start to drop. When it strikes midnight, it’s time for fireworks, cheers, hugs and lots of bottles of cava being popped.

If you’re living in Madrid and you don’t mind a huge crowd, you should definitely go to Puerta del Sol once. Many other cities will also have outdoor parties on central squares.

Looking for love in the New Year?

According to Spanish tradition, if you want to be lucky in love in the New Year, wear red underwear on Nochevieja. In some regions, somebody needs to gift you the underclothes, and in others, you have to give your red lingerie away by the end of the night. If that isn’t a ticket to love, what is?

Start with the right foot

Before you’re off to the party, make sure your first step into the New Year is with your right foot. This will kick off the year successfully. Though some maintain, you should enter your home, after coming back from partying, with your right foot. And there are those who say you need to step out of your house on New Year’s day with your right foot. To be sure, we do all 3.

Lentils on New Year’s day

It’s tradition to eat a bowl of heartwarming lentil and chorizo soup for lunch on New Year’s day. Each lentil is said to represent a coin and will bring wealth and prosperity. So dig in.

The New Year is also the place for new beginnings. Ready for a fresh start?


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