Every city has its own way of celebrating the arrival of a New Year, with organized events and the practice of centenary traditions. So today, ShMadrid will help you prepare for the New Year, during the last few days of the year.
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Madrilian New Year’s Eve
Madrid’s star location for the New Year’s Eve celebration is Puerta del Sol, one of the city’s most important squares, home of a large post-office building that is topped by a large clock. On the night of the 31st of December, thousands of people gather at the plaza to celebrate the beginning of a New Year together. It is a night of smiles and laughter, where people in high spirits come carrying confetti, wearing party hats, crazy colorful wigs or, in some cases, full costumes. One important part of the Madrilian New Year’s Eve tradition is the eating of Las doce uvas de la suerte, or the twelve grapes of luck. When the clock pointer finally reaches 12, people eat twelve grapes (one grape per month), which supposedly brings them luck for the following year, and toast with cava, the Spanish version of Champagne. Even those people who cannot go to Puerta del Sol to celebrate, or who simply want to avoid the chaos, turn on their televisions and watch the ceremony live, so they can eat their grapes and toast with cava.
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Puerta del Sol
New Year’s Eve at Puerta del Sol is a major event in Madrid. The city considers it o important, that they want everything to be perfect. To make sure all goes according to plan, the city organizes a rehearsal known as Pre-Uvas. In the night of December 30th, hundreds of people get together at Puerta del Sol with cava and their grapes, to perform the exact same ritual that will take place on the following night. The Pre-Uvas tradition was originally created as a technical run-through, so that the city could make sure that the Post Office’s clock and bells were in tip-top shape, and that they would function properly on New Year’s Eve. People started joining in and performing the whole ritual the night before, though some people take candies like M&Ms to eat at midnight instead of the grapes, because it is supposed to be bad luck to eat the twelve lucky grapes before the real New Year. Going to the Pre-Uvas can be a great solution for those who would like to be part of this traditional celebration, but would like to avoid the massive crowd on New Year’s Eve. And for those who really enjoy celebrating, Pre-Uvas gives them the chance to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Madrid twice!
What are your traditions? Do you keep up with them when you are not in your home country?