A month ago it was New Year’s Eve, or as it is called in Spain – Noche Vieja (Old Night, Christmas’ Eve is Noche Buena – the Good night). O had claimed that we were maybe going to the “Disco móvil“, announced on posters around the village, but fortunately that didn’t happen.
Here are some photos of what we did do on the last day of 2009:
In the afternoon we went up on the mountain above the village. I loved the rugged terrain with some dry thistles, thyme and other mountain herbs. People in the area make té de roca (rock tea) from the herbs they pick in the mountains. I learnt that the Spanish word for thistle is cardo, which is something we ate as a starter in the evening – it is a common dish to eat during the holiday season and is served with an almond-infused bechamel sauce. However, the thistle you eat is not the same as the ones found in the mountains.
O showed me the mountain refuge that he had helped renovate during his summer job as a forest ranger / firefighters’ assistant.
Before dinner we went for a few drinks with O’s friends in one of the local bars. The bar was full of people, and it was great to see everyone again, especially since we hadn’t seen them since February. When parting we decided to meet up after midnight – as the group always does every year…
At home everybody was gathered for the New Year’s Eve meal. In Spain it is tradition to have dinner with your family, and then go out afterward with your friends. I don’t think that I have celebrated New Year’s with my parents more than twice since I was a teenager!
In Sweden you usually cook a 3-course dinner and party at home with your friends. I can’t recall having been out in a bar or club on the last day of the year except for New Year’s 1994!
After dinner we all relaxed in the sofas in front of the fireplace, and watched the New Year’s hostess on TV freeze in her tiny red dress at Puerta del Sol in Madrid. O showed me how he always prepares his 12 grapes by peeling them and removing the seeds. I thought that we should have bought seedless grapes and couldn’t be bothered to take out the seeds in mine. The tradition is to eat one grape for every chime of the bell, and it definitely helped to have peeled them before hand! (the seeds I spit out at 00.01) However, O’s father was the only one who didn’t eat any grapes at the stroke of midnight, he told me that it is a “new” tradition that he didn’t grow up with*.
We toasted in cava (Spanish champagne) after swallowing the grapes, kissed everyone and wished them “Feliz año nuevo”. O and I were then supposed to go out again to join his friends. We didn’t really feel motivated, it was cold and windy outside, but we felt bad about standing them up and around 01 we headed back to the bar…
However, it was just the two of us plus two other girls for the one hour we stayed out, in a bar full of teenagers. I was actually quite relieved that we didn’t have to stay out until 07 in the morning, the way I have heard that Spaniards usually party on New Year’s Eve! I guess that O’s friends as well as I are getting old and tired, ha ha!
*) I have checked though and it seems that the tradition originated in 1909 in Alicante when the grape growers found themselves with a big grape surplus.. and my FIL is definitely not that old! 😉