New Year's Eve in San Sebastian

Every country has its own traditions to welcome the new year, for example in Italy it is usual to have lentils, or in the United States where you should give a kiss at the end of the countdown. So, we want to introduce you to some of the oldest traditions celebrated in San Sebastian, and more generally in Spain, to welcome the coming year during the usual New Year's cotillions.

We say goodbye to 2018 to welcome the 2019 and we have a great hotel offer to spend New Year’s Eve in San Sebastian. One of the most common traditions is to go to the most emblematic square of the city to celebrate Christmas all together and toast at the end of the twelve strokes. Still, if you have the opportunity to celebrate New Year’s Eve in a secluded place these are the most usual traditions that are carried out year after year.



One of the most famous traditions is to eat the 12 grapes when the last 12 chimes of the year sound. A tradition that began in 1909 due to the surplus of the harvest in Alicante. It became a tradition and now it is customary to eat these grapes and toast with champagne to bid farewell to the year. This tradition can bring very funny pictures, especially when a family member is not able to keep up with the pace. It also happens that between the quarters and the chimes, there is some confusion and the people end up eating the grapes at the wrong time. But without all these problems could not be considered that a yearend has gone well.


Another tradition that is less known, is the underwear one. Indeed, traditionally you receive red or yellow underwear as a gift, with the aim of wearing it during New Year’s Eve. Red symbolizes love and yellow symbolizes money. So, in addition to taking the grapes and toasting to have luck, it is also common for people to wear red or yellow underwear, to have a lucky love or financial year.


After the 12 grapes, the cotillion bags are opened which usually contain streamers, wigs and other items that we put on to have a fun-filled holiday look. When the most traditional part is over, meaning the dinner, the grapes etc ... people do the "after-dinner", by spending the rest of the evening chatting, catching up, telling anecdotes and commenting on the resolutions for the following year, later the music starts playing and the night continues.

 Finally, before the end of the night, it is common to see people returning to their homes late and enjoy another tradition: having chocolate with churros. A traditional recipe for all audiences. An excellent way to see the sunrise and to start a new year.

All these customs are part of our festivities and we love to share them with everyone on such remarkable dates as they are. So, if you feel like it and want to try something different, book our New Year’s Eve package in San Sebastian  enjoying some of the best views of the city and an unforgettable party.


I hope you enjoy an unforgettable stay at Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra in San Sebastián!

Do not hesitate to contact our staff if you require any information.


Elena Estomba Garín, General Manager of Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra

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