Happy new year Barcelona
So here you are, in Barcelona, preparing for the last night of december and to celebrate the dawn of the first day of the new year but do you know what will happen during the New Year’s Eve ???
Before to tell you its tradition, let’s see what you can do before. You can enjoy different entertainments in the city, for example, in the catalunya square with its food festival. Some people will do also some shopping and/or just start the celebration in different bars drinking and if you have kids, look for the traditional nose man :-)
He is a mythical catalan guy symbolizing the year because he has as many noses as days of the year and
each day, he loses one. Parents tell this story to their children and to make this joke more real, for the last day of the year, they get used to say that they saw him running in the streets so kids will start to look for him. If you want to see him the 31 december, he will start his parade with animals of the noah’s ark at 10h from the Entremesos House (plaza de les beates 2) and they will make a stop at the sant jaume square between 12h and 14h before to continue walking in the city until 18h.
If you are thinking to dinner in a restaurant during the last night of the year, you will have to do a reservation. Majority of the restaurants will have a special New Year menu and most of the places will be full so if you won’t book a table, you may have to go to a fast food or try, may be there will still have some free tables or just go to a tapas restaurant. Well if it is your plan so don’t worry, just keep enjoying your day until the night. Now you will need to worry if you don’t have any reservation.
You should count something about 50 euros minimum per person for the new year menu. Of course, you don’t have to choose it if you want to spend less, you can still select your own dishes. Barcelona offers many choices so I’m quite sure that you will find your happiness, catalan, spanish, japonese, chinese, thai… but since you are in Spain, better to go to a catalan or spanish restaurant, no !!!
One of the things that you will notice and it will make you wonder why (if it is your first time in Spain), it is the 12 grapes included in the menu normally but it is still not the right moment to tell you why because those grapes are related to the 12 seconds.
Where you can go to dinner ??? Well, like said above, you have multiples choices, if you want some recommendation, I will suggest you to read my following topic A nice place to dinner at Barcelona. All places are my favorites so once you will have taken your decision, give a call to reserve a table or go directly there if you will take a walk around the area.
Now if you don’t have your grapes, before that food shops will close, go buy them, generally, they close around 21h but for the 31, usually, they will close before. The last option is to go to the paki (a slang Spanish word) making reference to the food shop owned by a Pakistanis which generally closing later. In some places, you can buy the pack of 12 grapes, already prepared for the celebration, it is a little more expensive but seriously, it is not worth, I just bought grapes as I did usually.
No matter if you eat something or not, the show will start at 21h30, so go to the magic fountain (avinguda de la reina maria cristina) located in Montjuic. From this time, there will be a show of light and water.
The 12 grapes, most famously known as grapes of luck, have to be eaten at midnight. This is for people who want to follow the tradition so if you are still in the restaurant at 23h50, stay inside to celebrate the new year and eat those grapes with all the employees and the other customers.
This tradition dates from 1896 which was done the first time at the puerta del sol square in Madrid and later, it was extended to other cities
but not in the whole Spain. Indeed, it was not before in 1909, when the farmers from Murcia and Alicante got an excess of grape production and decided to give them free saying that if people who will eat them during the night of new year’s eve, fortune will come for the next year.
After this quick introduction, you may wonder how to eat them ??? No, you will not eat them in one single mouth, the 12 grapes and the 12 seconds correspond to the 12 ring bells starting at midnight. So for each ring, you will have to eat 1 grape and normally at the 12th one, your hands should be empty and your mouth should be full of them.
In case if there is still 1 grape left in your hands, luck will not be with you for the next year. Otherwise, expect something goods that will happen to your life. Well this is the theory, now the practice is quite different !!! Once this tradition is over, at 00h13, a big firework will light your eyes and the explosions will fill your ears
Almost forget it, don’t forget your bottle of cava (the catalan champagne). In case if you can’t be at the magic fountain, go to a main square near to you, for instance, the catalunya square in Eixample, there is only 1 main square per district and the best is to go to a square with a clock tower and if possible, including a bell.
Now after that, you can stay, go to a dance club or do whatever you want to end the night. There are a lot
of dancing places and all clubs close around 6hAM and bars, 3hAM, read Bar, restaurant, club... at Barcelona to find where you can go.
The touristy area is at the beach, exactly at the olympic port in the passeig marítim de la barceloneta street, just next to the 2 towers and the big golden fish. Here, there are many clubs and bars where you will have fun and dance all night until the sunrise, most of clubs are paying (between 15 and 20 euros which includes 1 drink). And if you dare, why not go to swim in the cold water of the beach to inaugurate the january 1 !!!
The local area is around the aribau street crossing the diagonal avenue. Here, you will find a lot of free clubs and if you will have to pay to get in, count between 10 and 15 euros (1 drink included). In fact, many clubs and bars are located on the muntaner street, the aribau street and the tuset street, just after crossing the diagonal avenue on the upper side (direction to the mountain, not to the beach). Don’t forget some aspirins for the next day because headaches will be part of the party too :-)
If after this night, you don’t feel tired and don’t have a big headache, you may want to participate at the traditional first swim of the year. It takes place on january 1 at 12h in front of the Athletic Swimming Club of Barceloneta (plaza mar). Once done, all participants will have a hot stock and a commemorative certificate (free).