Traditions for celebrating a Spanish New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve is a big event in every part of the world and each region has its own traditions that make it unique and special. Of course, in Spain we have our own too. Being with your loved ones Most people celebrate New Year’s Eve at home with their families. However, if they live far away from home, they celebrate New Year’s Eve with their friends. After midnight we toast with champagne and in some homes kids toast with “champín” which is a special champagne with no alcohol. 12 grapes The best-known tradition is eating 12 grapes. The last 12 seconds before the beginning of a new year, we eat 12 grapes following the sound of the bell of the Plaza del Sol (The Sun’s Square), in Madrid. This is the most famous bell in Spain. That’s why lots of people welcome the New Year at the square although most people normally follow the chimes on the TV. [caption id="attachment_1400" align="aligncenter" width="259"] The 12 grapes[/caption] Starting the New Year with the right foot While eating the 12 grapes some superstitious people keep only their right foot on the floor. That way they will start the first day of the year with good luck. Practicing the 12 chimes In some big cities like Salamanca and, definitely, in Madrid, they verify that their bell works well before New Year’s Eve. Many people gather together to practice eating the 12 grapes in 12 seconds. However it is said that if you eat the 12 grapes before December 31 at midnight it gives you bad luck, so people practice with olives, jelly beans or chocolates. [caption id="attachment_1401" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Conguitos - Spanish version of M&Ms[/caption] Eating lentils? Some people eat a teaspoon or a plate of lentils at midnight or on December 31st or January 1st for lunch. This is a symbol of the abundance, prosperity and economy throughout the year. Red underwear Another tradition is to wear red underwear because it will bring you a great year of love. Besides, it’s a day for dressing up because many people go to a cotillón after or before midnight. A cotillón is a party where people dance, eat and have fun all night long. Some people wear masquerades and other special costumes. In fact in many small towns people like to dress up. Fireworks We don’t have a firework show as big as people have in the States or in other places of the world. But we like fireworks too so some people buy them and shoot them off. Churros January 1st after partying all night long, we eat some churros as breakfast before going to bed. But don’t be too excited, only some breakfast bars and churros kiosks are open because the January 1st is a state holiday and stores are closed. [caption id="attachment_1402" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Churros con Chocolate[/caption] We don’t have the typical American kiss welcoming the New Year but we kiss all our beloved in the cheek to wish them good luck for the coming year.
Most important events in Spain
The Three Kings Parade (January 5-6) Spanish people love Santa Claus but they love even more the Three Wise Men who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, incense and myrrh. This is a great day for little kids, and not so little. That’s why we have a huge parade with kids throwing candies and other gifts. There is a parade in the main cities and neighborhoods on January 5 and 6. Carnaval (February - flexible date) This festival has a different duration depending on the city. It is an event in which people dress up (as funny things, characters…) in most places. In Cádiz, people walk around the city to hear original songs sung by different groups too and a contest is held in the Falla theater. In the Canary Islands and Badajoz, as well as in some other countries of Latin America, the festival is called “murgas”. There is another type of Carnaval in Las Palmas (a huge one) in which they choose the Queen of the Carnival and there is a drag contest too . Semana Santa (or Holy Week) (March - flexible date) There is not an exact day for the beginning of Holy Week or Semana Santa: it depends on the moon. Semana Santa begins the first Sunday of March when there’s a full moon. It is a huge event for lots of Spanish people but it might change depending on the region. Find everything you need to know in the post and in “Semana santa: Seville’s biggest holidays”:
What you need to know about Spanish filmography
Traditionally the Spanish movies had the Spanish folklore as the main theme. So when we search for ancient films we find stories based on a little boy or girl who sings and dances flamenco. By watching old Spanish movies, you perfectly feel how that time was and how my grandparents felt. [caption id="attachment_1370" align="aligncenter" width="197"] Marisol[/caption] But Spanish filmography has evolved and it has become more international. It is clearly shown in movies like “Regression” by Alejandro Amenábar, “El laberinto del fauno” by Guillermo del Toro, or “Volver” by Pedro Almodovar. Maybe those names are familiar to you because some of our directors are internationally known. You can also enjoy the international Spanish movies in your own language like “Lo imposible” by Juan Antonio Bayona, or even improve your Spanish listening skills by watching films such as “Grupo 7” by Alberto Rodríguez, a good example for practising the Andalusian accent. [caption id="attachment_1371" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Lo Imposible, by J. A. Bayona[/caption] However, Spanish directors haven’t abandoned the traditional part. We love our culture and our differences too. But we love mocking ourselves even more. That’s why we enjoy movies such as “Ocho apellidos vascos” by Emilio Martínez-Lázaro (this one is the highest-grossing movie of all time in Spain) or “Señor, dame paciencia” by Álvaro Díaz Lorenzo. As you might know, Spanish people have diverse ways of thinking, diverse traditions and (it is said too) different personalities depending on each region and these two films are inspired in Spanish stereotypes taking it to the extreme. [caption id="attachment_1372" align="aligncenter" width="300"] 8 Apellidos Vascos by Emilio Martinez-Lázaro[/caption] Spanish TV series have become great too. They are equally divided into: one third of thrillers (“Mar de plástico”), one third of comedy (“La que se avecina”), and one third based on true stories of the Spanish Civil War (“Amar en tiempos revueltos”) or Spanish history, even though they might add some fictional elements (“El ministerio del tiempo”). Millennials, like me, have learnt a lot watching these historical series with their grandparents, who enjoy telling their anecdotes about those times. [caption id="attachment_1373" align="aligncenter" width="300"] La que se avecina[/caption] You can practice your Spanish and learn more about our culture, history and sense of humor watching some of these TV series: La casa de papel, Tiempos de Guerra, Ella es tu padre, Los Serrano, La española inglesa, Lo que escondían sus ojos, El internado… [caption id="attachment_1372" align="aligncenter" width="300"] La española inglesa[/caption] I encourage you to choose one and start watching it in spanish (with subtitles if you need it) and, if you are brave enough, turn on the TV or join your host family and watch it completely in Spanish…Why not?