New Year's Eve Traditions

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The chimes

The countdown to the end of the outgoing year is marked by the last twelve chimes of the year, which are eagerly followed by everyone. As each chime sounds a grape is eaten and it is customary to make a wish.

This ritual is a call for good luck, even if eating grapes for New Year is not all that new in comparison with other Christmas traditions. In fact, its origin lies in the grape surplus of 1909.

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The nose man

The last day of the year is also the one when the home dels nassos, or nose man, appears on the streets. This mysterious character only makes himself visible once a year. What makes him so special is he has as many noses as there are days in the year!

Can you imagine that? Well, every year we encourage children to look for this eccentric gentleman who, at the end of the day, we are all like, because on 31 December we all have as many noses as there are days left in the year.

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New Year's Eve celebrations

To usher in the New Year and see out the old, it's usual to organise parties and gatherings of friends and relatives, which reach a magic climax at midnight and the twelve chimes' ritual. As each chime sounds we eat a grape. That's followed by toasts with cava, kisses and hugs.

After midnight the dancing and fun gets underway. It's party time, which means putting on paper hats, letting the streamers fly and playing jokes with party blowers.

The parties normally go on throughout this magic night, when everyone has a wish and makes New Year's resolutions.

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The nose race

Since 1999 Barcelona has celebrated the Cursa dels nassos, the nose race, an event that recalls the international tradition of organising races on St Sylvester's Day. The oldest and most famous St Sylvester's Day race takes place in Sao Paulo, where it has been held since 1925.

It's a very special event, imbued with a unique festive spirit, very participative and open to everyone. It's usual to dress up, wear wigs or deck yourself out with New Year party items.

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First swim of the year

It's now a couple of decades sinces the first swim of the year has been part of Barcelona's start-of-the-year rituals, a way of ushering in the New Year through sport, health and energy. This collective plunge in the Mediterranean, suitable only for those unafraid of winter sea temperatures, is usually held at midday on 1 January.

Everyone brave enough to take part in this swim will be served a hot broth afterwards.

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