Salamanca New Year’s Eve


Among the cities in Spain, Salamanca perhaps doesn’t stand out as a big city for its dimensions, neither for being the administrative centre of any region. But it is certainly a city of great importance within the map of Spanish universities. Its historical study centre – it’s the second most ancient university of the country, founded in 1218- and its headquarters are among the biggest of Spain, attracting lots of students from every corner of the country.
This is the reason why lots of spontaneous initiatives are developed by students, such as the University New Year’s Eve which began as a naïve initiative of a group of students who wanted to celebrate the event with those who were leaving for Christmas, because during this time lots of students go back to their cities of origin.
According to some informational pages about this party, in 1999 – the first year – there was only a dozen people celebrating, who met around midnight at Plaza Mayor of Salamanca to hear the 12 chimes and ate a jelly for each ring – the Spanish tradition of the 31st December is to eat one grape for each ring.
Little by little more and more students joined the annual call to celebrate the end of classes before Christmas and the farewell of their classmates until the next year. This event year by year hasn’t stopped growing, this is why since 2005 it is regulated by the city council, to guarantee a certain organization and security.
From that moment it is a well organized event, with a stage for concerts and performances that make more pleasant the wait for midnight and all the accesses to the square are controlled, so that no more than 20.000 people can enter. In spite of these measures, the number of participants keep increasing, exceeding sometimes 40.000 people, because of the many bus trips from all over Spain, that are organized for all those university students who make a sort of pilgrimage to the Spanish university city par excellence, together with students from other countries who are starting to join the event too.
Nowadays this tradition continues just like the way it was when it had been invented in 1999: every last Thursday of the year within the school calendar, people arrange to meet there, wearing their best dresses as if it were the real New Year’s Eve, eating their 12 jellies a little bit before midnight – every year they meet earlier to take a place – and to start a celebration that will continue all night in the streets of the city centre and in its bars and pubs.
This year the meeting will be the 14th December and lots of trips from all over Spain have already been organized. From Madrid, with a short trip of two hours you can reach Salamanca, so if you are interested in this celebration you’d better get informed as soon as possible. One more detail: despite the access is controlled, the entrance is still free.
Do you think it is an original party? Are there any similar events for New Year’s Eve in your country? Answer in the section below.

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