Sunday, January 1, 2012

Feliz Año Nuevo — Welcome 2012

THIRTY NEW YEAR'S EVES TOGETHER,
LIVED IN THIRTEEN DIFFERENT CITIES. 
We are not big partiers, especially when it comes to New Year's Eve. Our usual way to celebrate New Year's Eve (when we celebrate it) has been to have two friends over for dinner, which would begin after 10. This ensured that we were just finishing dessert at the stroke of midnight. Which ensured we would be awake to ring in the New Year. We were usually in bed by 12:10.

This year, we had a quiet dinner at home, just the two of us. It being our first year in Sevilla, we debated walking over to Plaza Nueva before midnight to be there with the crowds to welcome 2012. I had no expectation that we would actually follow through. Jerry does not like crowds... or drunks.  But, Jerry surprised me (he tends to do that) and asked if I still wanted to go. I, of course, said "Yes, but only if you really want to go. If you'd rather not, I'm happy to just stay here with you." We went.

PREPACKAGED "UVASDOCE – NOCHEVIEJA" (12 GRAPES – NEW YEAR'S EVE)

The Spanish tradition, once the clock begins to chime the hour of midnight, is to eat one grape for every chime until you consume the twelfth grape on the twelfth chime. If you succeed, you will have a year of good fortune. The stores actually sell grapes in 12-packs just for the occasion. I didn't realize it but Jerry had picked up two 12-packs when he was grocery shopping today, which he popped into his pocket as we headed out the door.

JUST BEFORE MIDNIGHT.

I assumed Plaza Nueva on New Year's Eve would be simply a smaller version of Times Square — mobbed, unruly, and drunk. When I was in college, I spent one New Year's Eve in Times Square. Once was enough. But, surprisingly, when we arrived in Plaza Nueva at 11:45 it was very easy to get around.  It did get crowded as the hour drew near, but never uncomfortably so. Also, the plaza was filled with people of every age, from children in strollers to the elderly. This was nothing like Times Square.

AT THE TOP OF AVENIDA DE LA CONSTITUCIÓN.
YES. THE GUY AT THE RIGHT IN THE COWBOY HAT WAS AMERICAN.

There were street vendors selling sparkly hats and huge plastic sunglasses framed in lights.  But mostly there were vendors selling bags of grapes. And everywhere we looked we saw people holding their own little containers of New Year's Eve grapes. Many had unopened bottles of champagne, as well.

NEXT YEAR, I'M GETTING MYSELF ONE OF THOSE TINSEL WIGS.

The clock began to chime and we began to pop grapes into our mouths... along with everyone around us. Once the grapes were consumed, people set off individual fireworks — a bit too close for comfort.  Everyone hugged and kissed. It was very civilized. We walked home to the rat-a-tat-tat of fireworks echoing all over the city. It's now 1:45 a.m. The fireworks are still going off. Jerry just went to bed, but before doing so he told me I should go outside and tell them all to stop. New Year's Eve is over.

Feliz Año Nuevo from Sevilla!

38 comments:

  1. Good for you two to bring in the New Year according to local custom!!! What a neat tradition that is!
    Yes, once in Times Square is enough....we did it in 1988! Will never forget it! Over 1 million people there and it was a little freaky at times.

    Happy New year.

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  2. Funny you should mention the tradition of eating grapes. In Miami at the beginning of the Cuban exodus there was this supermarket chain that couldn't figure out why they would run out of grapes the last week of the year. It remained a mystery until I pointed it out to them when I was hired as their art director.
    Cubans drink cider or cava and usually it is relatively cheap. But if you want to get a buzz...then you drink "España en llamas" which is cider with brandy in it...it's a cheap buzz.
    Tonight Jonathan only brought red wine and we still have four hours to go here so that the year is already old for you there.
    Muchas felicidades y espero todo lo bueno para vosotros.

    saludos,
    raulito

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  3. Jerry's funny...hey..maybe he should start a blog...his very own....I totally understand his need for quiet when needing beauty rest. PS looks mighty chilly willy there!Glad you took it in!!HNY!!

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  4. Thirty New Years, twelve cities--holy wow! Happy, happy 2012 to you and Jerry!

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  5. Happy New Year to you and Jerry! You both look great. You had the best of both worlds: alone together in your new home and out with other Sevillianos celebrating the Spanish way. Hope 2012 brings you lots of joy, happiness, and good fortune. Lots of love to you both.

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  6. Happy 2012 to you and Jerry. May this be the year that we sit down at a table together and toast our friendship. xox

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  7. I was in bed around 10:00. A party animal I'm not. But I WAS up around 1:30. The grandkids of the neighbor across the street were partying. I could hear them singing if I stood by the window.

    Happy 2012 to you and Jerry! I like the grapes idea, but I had never heard of it.

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  8. I always try to understand local customs when I travel. I think the custom of the grapes is kewl. How nice you two went out and participated.

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  9. Happy New Year, Mitch and Jerry - I love the photograph of you together - you like you had a lovely time! The grape tradition sounds a nice one.

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  10. Wow, you wasted no time in 'publishing' these lovely, atmospheric pics. How splendid and friendly it all looks. Trust you are not suffering from 'una resaca'?'
    An especially Happy New Year to yourself and Jerry, Mitch - and a totally wonderful 2012 to you both and all those dearest to you. I count on reading about (and seeing) your celebrations again this time next year - in Sevilla? I think so.

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  11. Jim:
    I was one of the drunk and disorderly in Times Square and even I found it unpleasant! Plaza Nueva was a very different experience.

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  12. Raulito:
    I hope your New Year's celebration was wonderful!

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  13. sophie...^5(ron):
    I think it was about 8C last night. You would have been in shorts and Sophie would have gone for a swim. Jerry doesn't need to start a blog; he'd just make up stories about me. (It took me a moment to figure out "HNY." So, FAN!)

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  14. Michelle:
    I had counted wrong; it was actually 13 cities in 30 years. (I corrected the blog... wonder if that's legal.) Happy 2012 to you too!

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  15. Jo:
    It was great. Wishing you same in 2012

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  16. Nubian:
    Nothing would please me more than toasting with you and Bear in 2012!

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  17. Walt the Fourth:
    Wishing you and Ken a very happy, healthy, and injury free 2012!

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  18. Stew:
    The grapes custom was a blast. Next year, we plan to buy better grapes. We swallowed about a dozen seeds! But we are so glad we didn't stay in last night.

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  19. Elaine:
    I was pleased to get someone to snap that photo of the two of us. What a great time. So funny to be standing around with thousands of people, all popping grapes at the same time. Happiest of years to you!

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  20. Raybeard:
    No resaca -- hangover. I didn't even have one drink yesterday! Wishing you a 2012 filled with joy. I do expect to still be in (or at least living in) Sevilla this time next year!

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  21. Gelukkig Nieuwjaar vanuit Amsterdam.

    Congratulations on 30 years of togetherness, you're a nice couple.

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  22. Peter:
    Thanks so much! Getting to know you in 2011 made it a much richer year!

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  23. Gorgeous pictures, and great stories, as usual.
    Happy New Year to you and Jerry, Mitch.


    Feliz Año Nuevo

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  24. Bob:
    Another fascinating event for us. Wishing you and Carlos a very happy new year, as well!

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  25. Happy New Year to you and Jerry. I like the new look of the blog. I learned just this morning about the tradition of eating 12 grapes while watching CNN. I guess it's official, I can just read your blog for all my cultural news now. I hope the best for you both with the new year upon us.

    Scott

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  26. Scott:
    Thanks regarding the new look. Just used one of the templates and adjusted colors. I figured it was time for a change. Someday I'll get daring and will create my own.

    Who needs CNN?

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  27. Hi Mitch:
    Our celebrations were not as thrilling. Carlos had to perform (mariachi) Jonathan couldn't get the champagne opened so we drank the cheap red wine. It is a good thing my mom is in the Dominican Republic or we would have had to wait until she peeled the grapes...you read correctly, she peels the grapes.
    But the greatest joy was to have little Savannah next to us even if she slept her way into the new year.
    besos y abrazos,
    raulito

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  28. Raulito:
    So sorry Carlos had to work (but would have loved to have seen him perform). Or am I more sorry Jonathan couldn't get the champagne opened? At least there was wine, even cheap. Peeled grapes! At least we'd know, with your mother in charge, that we wouldn't risk swallowing grape seeds from our supposedly seedless grapes. She's be sure to remove the seeds, too. Where was she when we needed her? (I know, the Dominican Republic.) And you summed it all up. Who needs anything else when you've got each other and Savannah. Besitos y abrazitos de Sevilla!

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  29. That looks like sooo much fun! And to think, all I did was drink Rum Runners and play Just Dance with the neighbors...including all the kids!

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  30. I don't need a wig...I can rely on my usual "bad hair day" that happens daily.
    But tinsel sounds good as long as it is rainbow-colored.

    saludos,
    raulito

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  31. ksatrtle:
    Your night sounds pretty great to me!

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  32. Raulito:
    Yes, the rainbow-colored tinsel got me. But it must be nice to have enough hair for a bad hair day.

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  33. maxine yes you must get a tinsel wig looking very happy i was sleeping before midnight frank went to work

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  34. Maxine:
    How great to see you you here! I wonder if they have tinsel wigs without "bangs." Happy New Year!!!

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  35. What a really interesting tradition with the grape-eating. Thanks for sharing it, Mitchell. A very happy and blessed new year to you and Jerry. x

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  36. Elizabeth:
    Thanks and wishing you the same!

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  37. it sounds blissful...and you are such a cute couple. Hope your new year is grand dear friend :)

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  38. Monkey Man:
    It really was fun and it seems like such a long time ago now. Thanks!

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