New Year in Madrid │ Traditions

Año nuevo en Madrid 2022-2023


As almost every year, the streets of the center of Madrid are packed with people who want to enjoy that Christmas and New Year’s atmosphere, people who come to downtown to take a look to the lighting on the streets or to enjoy the Christmas markets, some with bags full of last-minute shopping, others who run because they have to meet friends and have the chance to spend some time with them before going out of town to be with family or because they have planned a trip to spend the New Year somewhere else and in a different way, so this will be the last gather of the year with that people who stay in Madrid.

“We used to be happy, and we didn’t know it”

The arrival of 2022 (last year) was a reason for hope and the dream of leaving behind all those bad things 2020-21 brought us and for everything to return to normal, no matter how bad it was our reality before, a pandemic made it so much worse, because as they say out there, “we used to be happy, and we didn’t know it”. For this reason, this year is extra special, since it’s the first after a long pandemic that has hit the whole world and has taken with it many people, bank accounts, businesses, relationships, hopes, plans and much of our mental health. When walking through the streets of Madrid, you will see people with no fear, with more joy and the desire to have a good time, as they used to, before COVID.

Año nuevo en Madrid


The way of Spanish people celebrates new it’s famous around the world, even in different countries they have adopt similar ones, but there is a tradition that is booming and after several years has come to stay, I am talking about the tradition of the Preuvas (Pre-grapes).

Let me give you some context, as we all know, the tradition of the 12 grapes dictates that the 31st of December you must have 12 grapes in your hand, and when the clock is marking 12 o’clock, and the bells start to ring (one every second) you will have to start to eat a grape with every ring bell and with every grape you must make 1 wish, and theoretically, if you manage to eat, 12 grapes in the last 12 seconds of the year, while you are thinking of 12 different wishes (which is physically very hard) all your wishes will become true! Nice, huuuh?

“There are different variations about the wishes

There are different variations about the wishes, there are those who say that it’s a single wish with all the 12 grapes, which I find repetitive and not that fun, others assure that all your wishes will come true, which to be sincere it sounds very ambitious to me, so the one that I personally practice, is the one with the 12 wishes, one grape per every ring bell, personally I think it has the right level of adrenaline to start the new year.  Which one do you practice? (Say it in the comments)

Well,  once we already said what the official tradition is about, now I will tell you about the one that started with a very few people in Puerta del Sol some years ago, and that has become also an important highlights of this season; I’m talking about the Preuvas (pre-grapes) that take part on December 30th.  That night many people gather in Puerta del Sol to do the same thing, they will do on the 31st, eat 12 grapes at midnight. Reading many posts and news programs, I noticed that almost everyone agrees that this is, a kind of rehearsal for the next night, but in my personal experience, I remember a few years ago when there were only very few people who used to go to Puerta del Sol on the night of the 30th to eat grapes, and when you asked them, why did they do it? They all agreed that it was because some people in that group, whether they were, couples, friends, or relatives, would not be in Madrid the following night, so it was a way of bringing the event forward so they could all enjoy it together, because next night will not be possible.

Well, as usually happens with the traditions, legends, and anecdotes of a city, they start for a reason, on the way something changes and then at the end, there are several versions that everyone will ensure is the true one. Whatever the origin of the new tradition is, the only thing it really matter is that you be ready to eat some grapes either 30th or the 31st, have a lot of fun and start the new year in the best possible way.

So, below you have some links in case you are planning to go to Puerta del Sol, so you can take your precautions, also other useful links of what to do and some recommendations.

As this is the last post of the year, I wish you all a good end of the year and a great start of the new one.

Happy 2023!


Information about Puerta del Sol


Things to do in Madrid if you are alone

Free tours, flamenco shows, bar tours, etc.


Things to do in Madrid if you come with a group

Flamenco workshops, treasure hunts, wine tasting, etc.


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