Happy New Year

 

Everyone wants to start off the New Year right.

Why don’t you celebrate New Year’s Eve the way Catalans and Spanish do!? The most popular New Year´s Eve tradition is the 12 grapes of good luck. At 12 seconds to midnight the countdown begins and each time the bell rings in a new second, everyone has to eat a grape, for a total of twelve grapes.

Cava, Cava cork, happy new year

Cava corks are always marked with a four-pointed star.

Then at the stroke of midnight the cork on the Cava bottle is popped, and people kiss each other on both cheeks.

Cava is the Spanish sparkling wine made by a traditional method in the same way as champagne (with the second fermentation in the bottle). There are some fabulous examples at great prices in comparison to French Champagne. Almost all cava is produced in Catalonia, especially in the Penedes wine region.

Don’t be fooled into accepting an inferior sparkling wine. You can distinguish cava by the cork, which should be marked with a four-pointed star!

Salut and Happy New Year!

Catalan Christmas Traditions

 

Catalonia has its own unique traditions over the Christmas period and perhaps one of the most unusual one is the Tió de Nadal (roughly “Christmas Log”), and popularly called “Caga tió” (The pooping log in English).

Tió de Nadal

El Tió de Nadal, a Catalan Christmas tradition.

The Tió de Nadal, found in the living rooms of many Catalan homes during the holiday season, is a small to medium size log standing up on two or four little stick legs, and with a broad smiling face drawn on one end. It wears a red peasant hat called “barretina” and it is covered with a little blanket so it doesn’t get cold at night.The Tió comes from the forest on the day of the Immaculate Conception (December 8), and from that day onwards one gives the Tió a little bit to “eat” every night.

On Christmas day or, depending on the particular household, on Christmas Eve, children hit the Tió with a stick while singing a song that orders it to loosen its bowels and let drop the presents!

 

 

The Tió does not drop large objects, as those are brought by the Three Wise Men (on the 6th of January), instead, it leaves small presents for the children, as well as candies, nuts, nougats, wine and other goodies that are shared by everyone.