If you’re planning on abandoning the frost and snow in favour of sun and sand on Tenerife to welcome in 2013, there are a few New Year’s traditions that you need to be aware of lest you temp the demon bad luck to stalk you throughout the coming year.
Pack your red undies
It’s traditional to wear new red underwear on New Year’s Eve, (something to do with new life in the depths of winter and strange taboos on wearing red) which is why you’ll find clothes shops with window displays of scarlet skimpy slips and crimson Calvin Kleins. The best part about the new red undies tradition is that in order to reap the good luck, they have to be bought for you by someone else.
Grapes at the midnight hour
If you’re anywhere in Spain for New Year’s Eve, you really should have your good luck grapes. Tradition dictates that one grape is eaten for every chime of the midnight hour in order to ensure good luck in each month of the coming year. If you’re attending one of the New Year’s Eve parties on Tenerife which are annually held in Los Cristianos, Los Gigantes, Puerto de la Cruz, El Médano, Santa Cruz and many other traditional towns, you’ll be given a signal when to begin eating the grapes – usually a single rocket will go off, followed by eleven more to echo the chimes of midnight.
A couple of things to watch out for to ensure the whole thing goes smoothly and doesn’t turn into the grapes of wrath… firstly make sure you buy de-seeded grapes or else de-seed them yourself before you go out, and secondly watch out for false starts to the whole grape popping experience. In my experience there’s always some wag who lets off a rocket in the vicinity just 30 seconds or so before the real thing, throwing everyone into confusion. And don’t fall prey to the “but it’s not showing midnight on the clock” pedants standing next to you, grapes still clutched in hand ignoring the steady stream of rockets marking time. Those public temperature gauge/clock things rarely have correct data.
Have your cake and eat it
If you’re staying long enough to celebrate Los Reyes on 6th January, then as well as the fabulous Kings themselves arriving in various modes of transport from camels to fishing boats depending on whether you’re in Garachico, La Orotava or Los Cristianos, the night of 5th January is filled with the irresistible essence of hot bread, cinnamon and orange as bakers stay open late into the night baking their traditional Roscón cakes.
Made from sweet dough with added Orange Blossom Water and topped with sugar and crystallized fruit the Roscón is traditionally bought on the night of the 5th and then eaten on the 6th for breakfast or lunch. Inside every cake is a small ceramic figure and a dried bean. Whoever gets the ceramic figure is King for the day, wearing the crown supplied with the box whereas whoever gets the bean has to cough up for the price of the cake…or just cough up if they happen to accidentally swallow it.
But the best tradition of all is simply to have a really good time. ¡Feliz Año Ñuevo! 🙂
Category : festivals & carnivals
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