Wishing You a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year From Frigiliana

It's been a whirl of activity since Christmas Eve, with our granddaughters over here for a few days to see where grandma and granddad now live - and splash around in the hot tub, which was a good excuse for mummy and daddy to clamber in, too; to supervise them, of course.

They all flew back to England yesterday, leaving us to experience New Year in the village for the first time. The Spanish have a similar attitude to the Scots when it comes to celebrating the occasion. New Year's Eve is a time for family and friends to get together for a meal - at someone's home or in a restaurant, but the real celebration is of the arrival of the new year itself. Tradition demands that everyone gathers in the main square in front of the church armed with twelve grapes (seedless is the safest option). On the first stroke of midnight you eat a grape; on the second stroke a second, and so on until the twelfth stroke sees the last grape popped into the mouth.

The last grape has scarcely gone down before the first rocket goes up, followed another, and a whole stream of rockets of different varieties - colourful ones, white ones, but all very loud - in no particular order. While this is going on, the music starts, a local group take the stage, the open-air bar gets into its stride, people snap up bottles of cava and the party begins with much cheek kissing, and cries of "Happy New Year" from the expats and "Próspero Año Nuevo" from the Spanish, as everyone mills around the square greeting friends old and new, pausing frequently to dance to the music.

We finally drank the last of our cava bottle and headed off for home around two thirty, happy and proud to be among the stragglers..... though there were plenty of people still partying in the square, and the local bars were crowded.

A great start to a new, exciting year in our new home. Between you and me, I think we made the right decision coming here in March!

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