Christmas flies fast, almost as fast as New Year’s Eve in Malaga, time flies! While in most European countries the sun gradually gives way to clouds, rain and the first snow, in Malaga the sun still shines brightly in a blue sky.
Why not try this year something different and spend the end of the year in the sunny south? What’s up in Malaga and the Costa del Sol, on Christmas and New Year’s?
Throughout the month of December, the cities along the Costa del Sol display a unique charm with an extraordinary and colourful Christmas lighting that invites you to stroll through the streets at night.
What is the origin of New Year’s Eve?
New Year’s Eve arrives and everyone wants to celebrate it, eat the typical 12 grapes during the clock bells that indicate the beginning of a new year. But do you know the origin of New Year’s Eve?
The origins of this special celebration take us back to the beginnings of the Roman Empire. The month of January was dedicated to Janus, the god of the two faces, one old and with a beard looking to the future and another young man looking to the past. During this celebration the Romans had lunch with family and friends, exchanging figs and dates with honey.
There are many New Year’s Eve traditions today in Spain, click or tap on the link for jumping to that section of the article or continue reading.
Why and how to eat the 12 lucky grapes on New Year’s Eve in Spain?
The origin of the twelve lucky grapes has a recent origin and only occurs in Spain. The first time this happened on a massive scale dates back to 1909 and was due to a surplus grape harvest in Alicante.
Since the nineteenth century there was a tradition of eating the 12 lucky grapes in Spain and toasting with champagne, but only among the wealthy class.
Why are 12 grapes? The number 12 represents the months that make up the year. Supposedly it is to attract fortune and prosperity during the new year.
In other countries it is celebrated by eating a cake as in Greece, or a plate of lentils as in Italy and some South American countries.
Although this explanation abounds for the Spaniards, it is not irrelevant for those who do not know our customs. The number 12 represents the months that make up the year and one grape should be eaten for each clock bell. You have to be careful not to choke, because many people end up with their mouth full of grapes when it is impossible to keep up with the rhythm.
The 12 grapes are eaten by midnight, one for each stroke, which is said to bring good luck for next year. The red underwear again promises similar in matters of love in the New Year.
Weather forecast for this New Year’s Eve
The transition from 2018 to 2019 during the night of 31 December was without rain and with average temperatures around 9ºC.
If you are going to celebrate it in the interior the temperatures will drop, although not too much.
I will update the weather as we get closer to the new year’s eve date.
Where to celebrate New Year’s Eve and eat the grapes?
Most of Malaga’s squares are prepared for the event with music and activities for everyone.
You can’t forget the grapes and the cotillion, a bag prepared with confetti and other elements used for celebrations. It is possible that in some of these events they will be provided free of charge.
New Year’s Eve is celebrated at the Plaza de la Constitución from 10 pm and there will be a big party that will last until 2 am.
They distribute 3000 bags with the typical 12 lucky grapes to take them during the chimes and another 3000 bags of cotillion between 10 pm and 11.45 pm.
An orchestra will liven up the wait from 11pm and the music will continue after the bells until 2am.
Have the grapes ready, from 12 the bells will sound indicating the entry into the new year.
How do we live Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Malaga?
New Year’s Eve in Torremolinos
The New Year’s Eve town festival in Torremolinos takes place at the Plaza de la Nogalera. (This square is currently under construction, so we might need an update)
The place prepares a tent where you can eat the 12 grapes during the bells with a cotillion, live music and a drink bar available from 11pm.
After the bells some music bands will perform.
The event will last from 11 pm to 6 am.
Map at: https://goo.gl/maps/rmhJEPGw3XJ2
New Year’s Eve in Benalmádena and Arroyo de la Miel
The New Year’s Eve party in Arroyo de la Miel starts at 11.30 pm at the Plaza de la Mezquita. There will be a big party with the Rompeolas and Alborea orchestra.
In Benalmádena Pueblo the party will take place at 11.30 p.m. in the Plaza del Alguacil. In addition to the New Year’s Eve party there will be DJ’s and music from the 70s, 80s and 90s.
Map at: https://goo.gl/maps/TT4qDXncYvR2
New Year’s Eve party in Fuengirola
Once again the New Year’s Eve party takes place at the Plaza de España. The goodbye for the current year will be on 31 December from 11pm and will last until 3am.
New Year’s Eve in Fuengirola will feature free cider bottles, 500 cotillion bags and four thousand lucky grapes cans.
In addition to this great party at the Plaza de España there will be authorised booths with special activities.
New Year’s Eve in Marbella
The Plaza de la Iglesia will be the place to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Marbella on 31 December.
In this celebration there will be mini bells at midday for children, in addition to the traditional bells at midnight.
During the mini bells there will be gummy as lucky grapes and children’s shows.
During the midnight there will be clock bells for adults and live music during this special night.
New Year’s Eve dinner and party
If you are looking for a New Year’s Eve dinner in Marbella with musical performances, champagne and lots of fun you might be interested in the one organised by Doss Marbella: https://dossmarbella.com/new-years-eve-marbella-en.php
New Year’s Eve in Nerja and Maro
In Nerja there will be a New Year’s Eve party organised at the Balcón de Europa. The year 2018 will be bid farewell with twelve bells while eating the grapes and there is a big cotillion accompanied by fireworks and musical performances.
In Maro the party moves to the Plaza de la Iglesia, where from midnight there will be a New Year’s celebration.
You can read more about the Christmas and New Year’s Eve programme in the official press release: https://www.nerja.es/presentacion-del-programa-navideno-2018-2019-de-nerja-y-maro/
New Year traditions in Malaga
And already we are moving with fast pace towards the end of the year: The hotels along the Costa del Sol are offering special packages with festive dinners, New Year’s Eve party and several surprises.
The locals usually eat late and enjoy a very good dinner, typically with the family. This dinner is usually similar to the one on Christmas Eve, in my case on Christmas Eve we buy food for both nights.
After dinner and the chimes people celebrate with champagne the New Year before going out to the street to celebrate until dawn in bars and nightclubs, or at least this is what many do.
As an alternative plan, a large number of people gather around 11pm in the most important squares, such as the Plaza de Constitución in Malaga, to celebrate the New Year’s Eve with music and concerts.
What you need to celebrate the end of the year
What is the average traditional equipment for this night full of activities? Some bottles of Cava champagne, 12 grapes and red underwear. The 12 grapes are eaten by midnight, one for each stroke, which is said to bring good luck for next year. The red underwear again promises similar in matters of love in the New Year.
After New Year’s Eve
After the 1st of January the party is not over, because now it´s the little ones turn: On 5th of January, takes place the Parade of the Three Kings, huge carnival-like, colourful parades through the main streets of the cities, where lots of sweets are thrown into large crowds of children. But I’ll tell you about that in another article.
If you still don’t know what to do in December I recommend the main Christmas activities in Malaga.
As you can see, visiting Malaga at Christmas and New Year’s Eve won’t be boring at all!
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