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Spanish New Year


How to celebrate the New Year Spanish style!

Prep Time: 2 hours

Enjoyment time: 12 hours

Total Time: 14 hours


  • A siesta
  • A family meal
  • 12 grapes
  • A bottle of cava or cider
  • A TV tuned into Spanish television channel 'La Una'
  • Assorted bottles of alcohol. Maybe make a little sangria?
  • Bars that open until eight in the morning!


  1. Take the siesta in the afternoon. You'll need this for the long night ahead.
  2. Cook a large meal and invite all your family. Lamb and shrimp are popular.
  3. As the stroke of midnight approaches, take twelve grapes each and put the television on.
  4. A few seconds before midnight, the bells of the town hall in Puerta del Sol in Madrid will play a little melody. This is not the new year bells, so be patient.
  5. Once the little melody is over, the actual chimes will start - they'll sound all dramatic and new year-y, so you'll recognise it. At this point, eat one grape for every chime. This amounts to 12 grapes in 12 seconds, so be prepared to have a mouth full of grapes at the end of it!
  6. Open the bottle of cava and take a glass each! Happy New Year!
  7. At around 1am, the bars will start to open and those who still have energy will kiss goodbye to their families and embark on a night out with friends. Last man standing will have a very good year!

Common Mistakes

  • Don't expect to find a bar open at midnight. There may be one or two, but the stroke of midnight is traditionally celebrated at home.
  • Don't think the little melody before midnight is the start of the new year. You have a few seconds left to wait!
  • Don't expect to finish the grapes before the next bong! Just put the next grape in and chew at the end. A missed grape is a month of bad luck.

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