Barcelona New Year

Festivities And Celebrations

Just like everywhere the Barcelona New Year festivities are centred around the midnight clock chimes and the New Year's party that generally goes on until the early hours.

The Spanish tradition of eating a grape with each chime of the bell is also practiced in Catalonia, which can be a bit of mouthful.

My favourite local Catalan tradition is the Home dels Nassos - the Man of the Noses, who has as many noses as there are days in the year.

There's also 10km fun run on New Year's Eve and an organised New Year's Day swim at Barceloneta beach.

However, like the rest of the holiday period, Cap d'Any or New Year in Barcelona is really about eating, drinking and having a good time.

A recent addition to the festivities is a New Year's Eve Party and Firework Display on Avinguda Maria Cristina at the foot of Montjuïc.


New Year's Eve - L'Home dels Nassos

L'Home dels Nassos in Barcelona

 L'Home dels Nassos or Man of the Noses is one of my favourite local Catalan traditions.

He only appears on the morning of New Year's Eve and children are told that he has as many noses as the year has days and are sent out into the streets to find him.

What they aren't generally told is that he only has one nose because there's only one day left in the year!

The joke is played on children all over Catalonia and I've seen adults dressed in strange costumes and armed with bags of sweets leading the kids Pied piper-like around villages in L'Empordà, for example.

In Barcelona, the Home dels Nassos is a Capgross, who leads a small procession starting at an undisclosed starting point, generally an emblematic building, and finishing at Plaça Catalunya, where he is presented with the key to the New Year by representatives of Barcelona City Council.

There's also a 10km road race on December 31st called the Cursa dels Nassos.

12 O'Clock Chimes and Grapes

Although the Catalans won't like me saying this but most people follow the 12 o'clock chimes on Spanish National TV from the Puerta del Sol in Madrid because Catalan channel TV3 seems to change the location every year.

Bon Any Nou! Happy New Year!

The chimes are preceded by four slow tolls of the bell - els quarts - and then the fun begins.

You have to eat a grape for each of the 12 chimes of the clock.

This is surprisingly difficult because after the fourth or fifth chime your mouth gets full of pips and skin.

Most of my female friends prepare the grapes beforehand by peeling them and removing the skin - filthy rotten cheats!

Local legend says that the tradition of 'menjar el raïm' or eating the grapes along with the New Year bells dates back to 1909 when there was a particularly good grape harvest, but this doesn't really explain why grapes are eaten all over Spain.

New Year Parties and Celebrations

Apart from in the tourist areas where I imagine that bars and restaurants will be open to celebrate the Barcelona New Year, in the neighbourhoods, the city goes extremely quiet because most establishments close around 10 so that waiters and bartenders can go home and ring in the New Year with their families.

Many will stay at home because house parties with family and friends are very popular for New Year but equally some bars will open again at around 1 o'clock and the festa will continue till dawn.

In the city centre bars and restaurants will obviously stay open so that the clientele can celebrate New Year in comfort, and the best ones will provide diners with el cotilló - a bag full of party hats, balloons and silly toys.

Revellers in Barcelona City Centre have traditionally ended up at Plaça de Catalunya but this year as I mentioned above, there will be a New Years' Eve Event on Avinguda Maria Cristina at the foot of Montjuïc.

Cotilló de Cap d'Any

New Year's Day

New Year's Day in Barcelona tends to be an excuse for another family meal but as far as I'm aware there's no traditional dish.

I've often had turkey with prunes or seafood depending on where I was invited.

For the extremely resilient, an excellent way to get rid of the hangover is to go for the traditional Barcelona New Year's Day swim organised by the Club de Natació Atlètic Barceloneta at Barceloneta Beach.

I, however, prefer to get started on breaking my New Year's resolutions!

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