The New Year's Eve Chimes are the short 36-second ritual that precedes the New Year's Eve celebrations. Arriving at 12:00 at night on December 31, it is traditional throughout Spain to eat 12 grapes following the rhythm set by 12 strokes; one for each month of the year. According to tradition, if you don't eat all 12 grapes, you won't have good luck the year that is about to begin. But, where does this tradition come from? There are several theories, but two are the most credible. The first is truly interesting because it involves two countries and a certain class struggle waged with the weapons of satire. During the 80s of the 19th century, the Spanish bourgeoisie would have imitated the French custom of drinking champagne and grapes to celebrate the new year. A few years later, some people from Madrid would have gone to Puerta del Sol to hear the midnight bells and would have brought grapes to imitate the newly acquired upper-class custom, as a form of mockery. The other theory is more prosaic and takes us to Alicante at the end of 1909, when grape growers in the area had surplus harvests. In order to sell the grapes, they would have invented the 12 chimes tradition.
New Year's Eve on the street
Whatever the origin, the truth is that the tradition is deeply ingrained, and in the street, at home or in a restaurant, most of Barcelonians will eat the grapes to the rhythm of the chimes. Then they will continue with the party where they are or they will go to a place or srhythm where New Year's Eve parties are held. When we say in the street, we refer to the srhythm where the greatest number of people are concentrated because tradition dictates it or because the city organizes a show in that place. In the case of Barcelona, that srhythm has been Montjuïc for some years. Around the Magic Fountain there is a great show that culminates with the launching of fireworks reinforced with music and the dancing water of the Magic Fountain.
The New Year's Eve Chimes the year of the pandemic: goodbye 2022, hello 2023
This year, starting at 9:30 p.m., the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc will start working, and at 11:48 p.m. the impressive and exciting show will begin prior to the 12 chimes that will welcome 2023. The Groupe F company will be in charge of offering a show full of music and pyrotechnics, displaying a monumental scenery and based on the most spectacular technological innovation. This year-end show will be a homage to primitive art, accompanied by a soundtrack composed by Scott Gibbons (a regular collaborator of stage director Romeo Castellucci). The 12 minutes until midnight will be dedicated to different cultures, symbolized by masks that will appear in the air drawn by the flight of more than two hundred drones. After 12 chimes (the sky will light up with each chime), we will welcome 2023 with 12 spectacular minutes of fireworks.