Spending New Year’s Eve (Nochevieja) in Seville and wondering what to do and where to go?
As in most places in the world New Year’s Eve in Seville is either about family or partying, depending on your age, circumstances and inclinations. In Seville family has a more central role than in most North European cultures, and it’s the norm to have a big family meal on New Year’s Eve. In fact, many bars and restaurants will be closed to the general public between 6.00 pm and midnight so staff can spend the evening at home with their own families. Unless you’ve booked a set dinner at one of the few restaurants that are open, your best bet is to have a good lunch out and be prepared to cook and eat dinner at home, or in your holiday apartment. Remember that New Year’s Day is a holiday too, so get all your shopping done in good time.
Meanwhile, those who are not at family gatherings begin to congregate in the Plaza Nueva to socialise, wait for the midnight countown and plan the night ahead. Wherever you are, though, come midnight there is one custom that is de rigeur for everyone – the eating of the grapes. In order to have good luck in the coming year you must eat a grape at every chime of the midnight bells, twelve in all. This is one of those things that sounds a lot easier than it is, but to help you out you can buy little tins of twelve seeded and peeled grapes. You are also supposed to wear an item of red underwear that someone has given you, but unless you’re expecting that someone to check up on you (or you’re very superstitious) you can probably get away without doing that one.
After the bells and the grapes it’s time for fireworks, and after that, it’s off clubbing and/or bar-hopping until dawn. Favourite all-night party spots include Calle Betis by the river in Triana, and the Alameda de Hercules, but if in doubt, just follow somebody else.
Another tradition, far more practical than grape eating, is the stop for churros and chocolate on the way home. This time-honoured hangover cure is right up there with egg and bacon butties as a way of coping with the morning after the night before.