NEW YEAR IN SPAIN
The second most important of the Christmas celebrations is the New Year’s Eve and its continuation – the New Year. He does not have such family warmth as Christmas, but still loved, and, above all, youth. This is a holiday of farewell to the outgoing year, a holiday to leave the house and spend it in fun until the next morning of the year that has already arrived.
Some families have a habit of dining at home. The New Year’s table abounds with fish and seafood, which are rarely bought throughout the year. Others, usually these are young couples and friendly companies, like to celebrate the coming of the New Year outside the house, in some restaurant with a concert and festive program. Another option is to have dinner at home, and then go to celebrate the New Year at a disco.
The difference between New Year’s Eve or any other holiday, if it is celebrated not at home, lies in Cotillon. The “Cotillon” is awarded to each of those invited before the start of the holiday and is a bag inside which there are festive attributes: balloons, carnival masks, musical horns, serpentine, confetti, and which should open after the bell ringing, that is, by the New Year.
The ceremony of twelve beats of the bell is broadcast on television and radio from the main square of the capital of Spain, already crowded with lucky people who meet each bell with emotional exclamations. There is a small detail that distinguishes the custom of bell ringing in Spain and this is the tradition of twelve grapes. This is a relatively young tradition, it came into use in the 20s. of our century, it began with such a prosaic thing as the need to sell the remains of a huge harvest of “Muscatel” grapes, which the Catalan winemakers used to produce champagne. There were a lot of unused grapes, and then it occurred to the merchants to sort it in twelve grapes into small bags and sell it to people who were supposed to keep it until New Year’s Eve, and with its onset, eat one grape with each bell. This innovation was a huge success, and today in many Spanish families and restaurants, the observance of this tradition has gained almost religious significance. Among other things, there is a comic side to this. Since not everyone can eat so fast, and everyone wants to follow the tradition, then, at the time when the tenth bell rings, you can see funny faces, mouths full and hear a funny laugh.
The third holiday included in the Christmas cycle is the Day of the Magi. This is an exclusively Spanish holiday, a celebration of children and toys. It is celebrated on January 6, when, according to traditional ideas, three wizards from distant lands, finding a way through the stars, as the scripture tells, reached the place where Jesus Christ was born to arrange celebrations and offer his gifts – gold, frankincense and myrrh . This story formed the basis of the legend according to which three overlords – Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar, on camels, surrounded by their pages, visit all the families where children live to leave them sweets and gifts. “Night of the Magi” is a night in which parents sleep little, and children sleep even less. Parents – because they must put the children early, wait until they fall asleep, so that they can safely prepare and lay out the gifts that the children will find in the morning in the living rooms of their houses; and children – because impatience and a desire to catch three sorcerers during a visit to their house does not allow them to sleep. In addition, parents and children are preparing for the arrival of wizards, they leave food and water for camels in the courtyard or on the balcony of the house. Sweets and drinks are prepared for the magi themselves, which will help them regain strength in their nightly journeys. During the night of the Magi, on January 5, the “Cavalcade of the Magi” takes place in many cities, which is a carnival procession with music and characters dressed in costumes of wizards sitting on decorated carts from which they throw candy and toys to children.
On Magi Day, they dine at home and end their dinner with cakes called the “circle of wizards.” This large round cake is decorated with different sweets and has a little secret: some small thing, usually a coin, is put in the dough to make it. During the distribution of servings, the one who gets a piece with a coin buys the same cake for everyone next year. Another option is when a gift in the form of a ring or some decoration is placed in the pastry for baking, and the recipient of this piece gives a gift to a loved one.