No one in Spain misses the Campanadas on New Year’s Eve or Nochevieja in Spanish. This celebration consists of eating a grape with every chime (12) of the first seconds of the new year. It is a tradition that is said to bring good luck for the entire year. Everyone follows the Campanadas on the television with their families and some go to the actual locations.
But New Year’s Eve Campanadas have their own name in Spain: Puerta del Sol in Madrid. Its fame is such that most national broadcasts focus on this central point of Spain’s geography. However, there are several interesting celebrations throughout the country similar to Madrid‘s. From original events, such as the Coín carnival, to other more classic but spectacular ones, such as that of Zaragoza, we review some of the best places to experience New Year’s Eve beyond Sol.
The Avenida de María Cristina separates the Montjuic fountains from Plaza España in Barcelona. This long street is the one that holds the greatest welcome to the new year in the city. Its location is exceptional and makes use of all the elements provided by the place. Fireworks, water, screenings, fire… This celebration has everything necessary to leave those who come with their mouths open.
The Plaza del Obradoiro in Santiago de Compostela does more than just welcome pilgrims on 31 December. It becomes the nerve centre of the Galician New Year’s celebrations. The Berenguela Tower is in charge of ringing the bells. It has a curious clock and a legend directly associated with New Year’s Eve. If instead of ringing 12 times it rings 13 times, the devil will have an hour to play his tricks. Be that as it may, the end of the Way to Santiago is also a great alternative option to the Sol celebration in Madrid.
There are two New Year’s Eves in Salamanca, the university one and the traditional one. It is the former that attracts attention year after year. It is celebrated more or less in the middle of December, before the students go home. For example, in 2019 it was the 12th. From the 12 communication students who joined in 1999 to continue the forbidden party they used to have in their university, it has become a massive occasion that fills the main square every year. Meanwhile, on 31 December the same place is once again packed, although somewhat less so, to say goodbye to the year in a more traditional way.
The different time zone in the Canary Islands means that the New Year’s Eve Campanadas will be one hour later. In the different islands typical New Year’s Eve celebrations take place in important squares. However, the one that stars the television broadcast rotates. There are two famous stars of the televised event: Roberto Herrera in the case of TVE and Eloísa González in the case of Televisión Canaria. Last year, the venues were Las Canteras (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) and San Cristóbal de la Laguna respectively.
The old town is the epicentre of the curious New Year’s Eve carnival. Following examples such as Coín, which will be seen later, the capital of Navarre is imposing the option of dressing up to experience the change of year. Thanks to this, curious pictures are given, especially during the New Year’s Eve Campanadas. A great option to wear a disguise in the north of Spain. In addition, the festive atmosphere afterwards is also well-known and one of the great assets of Pamplona.
Being Valencia, it is impossible that there was not gunpowder on New Year’s Eve. In fact, there is plenty. The fireworks displays after the New Year’s Eve Campanadas are among the best in the country. However, the Plaza del Ayuntamiento has events long before that. At midday, the custom of having children’s Campanadas has been consolidated. Likewise, the premises open hours before midnight. Music and various shows brighten up the wait. In addition, another custom that seems to have become continuous is that of listening to the “last song of the year” just before the big moment. The song remains a secret until the last moment.
The tradition of dressing up for New Year’s Eve in Coín arose spontaneously in the 1970s. Since then the occasion has only increased its fame. The old tradition allows to see really original and funny costumes. Some big cities like Pamplona have acquired similar uses in recent times. Be that as it may, the inhabitants of this town of Málaga take it very seriously. Thus, the best costumes are awarded in a contest of the city council. Although the main place of the event is the Plaza del “Pescao”, where you can hear the Campanadas, other areas are also set up for the grapes, such as the Plaza Alameda.
The famous party in the Plaza del Pilar in Zaragoza shares its year of creation with the Salamanca University New Year’s Eve: 1999. Currently the city council continues to prepare this celebration that extends from eleven o’clock at night until two in the morning. The first attendees receive grapes and a party bag with which to celebrate. Right after the Campanadas, fireworks illuminate the Basilica of Nuestra Señora del Pilar. A really beautiful sight and worth seeing live.
In this part of La Mancha, the most famous literary heroes of the region are the protagonists of the New Year’s Eve Campanadas. The town hall’s chime clock is in charge. During the culminating moment of New Year’s Eve, the automatons of Don Quixote, Sancho Panza and Cervantes make an appearance to the sound of the chimes. This is a much loved show in Ciudad Real and prepares people to go on all night long.