To celebrate 2014, SPI takes a look at the New Year’s Eve festivities that occur in our program countries: Spain, France, Italy, and Costa Rica!

Spain. In Spain, the Fin de Ano begins with late-night celebrations centered around food, family, food, friends, and more food. Popular fare includes prawns, tapas, shrimp, ham, chorizo, cheese, and lamb (is your mouth watering yet?). The festivities are never short on cava (sparkling Spanish wine), and in a nod to grape growers in Alicante, many Spaniards traditionally eat twelve grapes as the clock strikes midnight.

France. La Saint-Sylvestre is typically celebrated with a (you guessed it) serious meal, chock full of French delicacies such as foie gras, delicately-prepared seafood, La Galette des Rois (a traditional cake), champagne, and more. This incredible meal is called le Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre, and is usually attended by a multitude of family and friends.

Italy. New Year’s Eve in Italy (or Notte di San Silvestro) is marked by interesting rituals that include wearing red underwear (to symbolize love, fertility, and good fortune for the coming year) and smashing all kinds of pottery and glass in order to ward off negative energy and bad omens. Ah, Italians!

Costa Rica. Costa Rican New Year’s Eve celebrations are typically intimate affairs, with less of the crazy revelry that occurs in many other parts of the world. Which is not, of course, to say that the Año Nuevo is necessarily quiet — as Costa Rican tradition denotes, running across the street with luggage in tow typically brings good luck to the community.