31 Dec, 2021 @ 08:15
2 mins read

Maximise your luck for 2022 by following these New Year traditions from Spain

Andreas Dress Unsplash(1)
Andreas Dress Unsplash(1)

WE’RE all hoping that 2022 will bring a new start and good fortune but to make sure the New Year gets off in the best possible way, you would be wise to follow these Spanish traditions.

While COVID restrictions may mean it is not be possible to celebrate in the usual way – by gathering in a crowded square – these other customs can be carried out wherever you happen to be seeing in the New Year.

12 grapes

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Photo: Fiona Govan

The most important of all the Spanish New Year customs, and something you’ll only see in Spain, is the tradition of gobbling 12 lucky grapes at midnight.

One grape is to be taken at each gong of the bells at midnight, which sounds pretty easy until you attempt it while giggling surrounded by friends after spending an evening consuming drinks!

You can make the task easier by buying a can from a supermarket that contains 12 ready peeled seedless grapes just for the occasion.

Red undies

Pi Istvan Toth Flickr
Photo: Pi István Tóth/Flicr

You may be mystified the first time you come across a Christmas market stall devoted entirely to red knickers, but this is another of Spain’s New Year traditions and essential for making sure the wearer is lucky in love.

Some insist that the magic only works if you wear red underwear that has been presented as a gift, while others firmly believe the red pants must be abandoned by dawn to ensure good fortune!

Right foot

In Spain, it is essential to remember that you must start the new year on the right foot –literally! This means you will see people endeavouring to take their first step after midnight with the right foot forward first.

Others continue the tradition to include the right foot forward on every new activity of the year.


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Photo: HatM/Flickr

Lentils may seem like a rather meagre dish for a bank holiday and the first meal of the year but tradition has it that a hearty lentil stew should be served on New Year’s Day.

Not only is it good hangover fare but the lentils are supposed to represent small coins symbolising prosperity for the year ahead.


Of course it wouldn’t be New Year without a glass of bubbles in your hand to toast 2022 and in Spain that undoubtedly means Cava.

For extra special fortune add something gold into the glass for prosperity or a strawberry/raspberry if you are looking for love.

Silly hats and wigs

Spain: Police Device And Artificial Lights To Receive The Year 2021
People in Spain don silly hats and wigs to see in the New Year. Photo by Alberto Sibaja/Pacific Press/Cordon Press

We are not quite sure whether these are guaranteed to bring you good luck or even prosperity in the new year, but such accoutrements are ubiquitous amongst revellers on New Years Eve in Spain.

At the very least they will ensure you kick start the new year with a whole lot laughter and what better start is there than that?


Fiona Govan

Fiona Govan joined The Olive Press in March 2021. She moved to Spain in 2006 to be The Daily Telegraph’s Madrid correspondent and then worked for six years as Editor of The Local Spain. She lives in Madrid’s Malasaña district with her dog Rufus.

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