So my wife asked me yesterday, "What do you want to eat for New Year's Eve dinner?" and I said, oh, I don't know, pizza would be fine by me. Then I heard the voice that told me I had said something completely ridiculous, "Pizza? What? On New Year's EVE?" Oh-oh.
In case you don't know this - I know I sure as hell didn't - New Year's Eve here in Spain is when the "fancy" dinner of the year happens. Everyone gets together for a big meal on Christmas Eve then maybe opens some presents, but New Year's Eve's Dinner is the BIG one: The really fancy dress up one. I've spent the past two years waiting for the clock at midnight with my wife and her in-laws. To those in the U.S. spending New Year's Eve with your parents is a horrible fate, (and it is for the most part here too IMHO) but here instead of being reviled as deathly boring, it's the thing to do before you head out to the bars and discos for the entire night. In the U.S, Midnight on New Year's basically ends the festivities. In Spain, it's only the beginning.
Being at my in-laws, we would dress up for dinner - as we had on Christmas' Eve and eat. But I thought it was just Ana's family thing to celebrate or something (I don't know, it just didn't dawn on me). It's not, it's the whole country. It's a tradition as strong as Turkey on Thanksgiving. It's THE night for dinner. This year Ana and I are hanging out at home with Alex, and I was thinking it was going to be a low-key "watch the ball drop" New Year's... But even so, my thoughts on pizza were not considered appropriate, and once again I learned something new about Spain.
Now, you're probably wondering about the 12 grapes, right? I have NO idea if any other country does this, but here in Spain, everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - eats 12 grapes during the strokes of midnight. It's good luck if you get them all down in time. Have you ever eaten 12 grapes, 1 second apart, with seeds? Woof.
Happy New Year From Spain!
P.S. The "ball" in NY will be dropping at 6 a.m. here in Spain, so I probably will NOT be watching it live, but I'll catch up tomorrow morning. ;-)
P.P.S. I almost forgot - because the whole country is watching live as the bells ring at La Puerta Del Sol here in Madrid on Spain's national television station TVE, everyone hangs around for "The First Commercial of the Year" and talks about it for days after. I'm not kidding!. Whatever marketing company came up with that idea, more power to them. Unbelievable.
P.P.P.S. Moof, who's in Australia at the moment is chatting with me via IM and pointed out this post on the subject. Check out the 5th paragraph. ;-)