New Years Eve

January 05, 2009 By: erik Category: Family, Mondragon, Partying, Photos, Spain, Videos 1,090 views

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Champagne with Wedding RingMarga’s family alternates getting everyone together on Christmas or New Years Eve; this year the big family dinner was on New Years Eve. Remember these beauties? We ate one on New Years Eve. You may note a particularly turkey-heavy theme to this post. I was a little worried that I might have to witness the slaughter (and be forced to make a Sarah Palin interview parody video), but I didn’t.
Christmas Season Consumables

Wine and anchovies and other foodstuffs ready for consumption.

Horton DVD advertisement on Apple

Advertising DVDs on apples? What? (You’ll see where this apple goes later.)


The patient hits the operating table.

Turkey stitching

After stuffing it with ground beef, raisins and prunes, Marga’s veterinary skills kicked in and she sewed up the patient.


Marga veterinarianing.

100 cc's of sherry! Stat!

100 cc’s of sherry! STAT!

Sherry Syringe

Loading the sherry syringe.

Sherry Injection

Sometimes the sherry would come shooting back out of the hole. Eventually the needle got blocked and I was sent out to the on-call pharmacy (there’s always one pharmacy in each town that is open, even on holidays) to buy a new needle. Dialog in the pharmacy:

Erik: I need some syringe needles!
Pharmacist: What for?
Erik: For a turkey.
Pharmacist: Is it sick?
Erik: For eating.
Pharmacist: For feeding?
Erik: Not feeding the turkey. To fill it with wine to cook it.
Pharmacist: Oooh! Tasty! Here, have these vet needles. They’re the biggest we’ve got.

Apple in Turkey

Hey, there’s that apple!

Tanning Salon

Four hours in the tanning salon. Crispy!

Turkey Basting

Sucking juices from the pan.

My father-in-law and his father-in-law

My father-in-law and his father-in-law.

Manoli and Inés

Aunts Manoli and Inés.

Gorka, Rubén, Ion, and Maikel

Cousins Gorka, Rubén, Ion, and Maikel.

Uncle Ramón is tired

Uncle Ramón snoozes between courses.

New Years Eve Panorama

A panorama of the whole table, segregated by gender. Mainly so the men don’t have to make the endless trips to the kitchen, I think.

Turkey Carving

Let the turkey carving begin!

Turkey Carving

Uncle Antonio does the honors.

Ramón digs in

Carnivore Ramón goes at it.

Making Dessert

Dessert preparation begins: pineapple, peaches, ice cream, flan, and whipped cream.


It’s called a pijama.

New Years Grapes

My New Years grape ration. My longtime readers will know that the main Spanish tradition for New Years Eve is grape eating. Actually, the tradition is exactly 100 years old this year. Very clever marketing by the grape farmers. The object is to eat one grape for every chime of the clock in Madrid, which everyone tunes to on their televisions.

Alcohol + Stickers + Camera = Shame

Alcohol + Stickers + Camera = Shame

Grandpa and Erik

Grandpa and me.

Grapes and gold

Grapes counted (there’s one out of frame). Wedding ring in champagne glass. It’s important for good luck to have some gold in your champagne.

You have to wear that for a year

I tried to convince Uncle Antonio that, for good luck, he should wear this on his head for the entire year of 2009.

I’ve made a video of what happens when the year changes in Spain. According to my book about body language, it is very common for people to perform greeting and parting rituals (kissing, hugging, handshaking, etc.) when a “state change” is perceived, be it a coming of age, a birthday, or the change in the calendar year. Hence all the kissing…

Notice Aunt-to-be Belén wishing Nora a happy new year in Basque.

Champagne with Wedding Ring

New Years Eve still life.

Champagne and Gin

Uh oh, who broke out the gin?

To welcome in the new year, we got together with a member of my illustrious blogroll. The last time I met someone through my blog was in San Fermin 2008. In the wee hours of 2009, I met Sharon, the Australian woman I’d seen once.

HABM, Sharon, and Erik

Not surprisingly, she’s already blogged about it. The other gentleman in the photo is the man who Sharon refers to as Husband-Acquired-By-Marriage. Pretty clever online pseudonym, in my opinion.

Post New Years Eve Recycling

The morning after, the glass recycling bins were overflowing.

And the Vienna concert was great again this year. They even had some women in the orchestra for the first time ever.

Happy 2009 everybody!

  • I love the idea of a turkey sherry injections.

  • You could definitely taste the sherry, too! It almost alleviates all need for sauces in a usually dry meat.

  • Paul

    Thank you for that video. I now see that your intake is approximately one grape every three seconds. For the last several years I have been laboring under the impression that the twelve Madrid clock chimes were at one second intervals. I downsized the grapes this year, and managed for the first time to actually ingest one per second for 12 consecutive seconds, but I still had a good bit of chewing and swallowing to do before my mouth could start kissing.

  • I actually raised the grape/chime interval question at the table this year, claiming that I thought it was one for every two seconds (0.5 Hz)…which caused Uncle Antonio to claim that he could chime perfect seconds without looking at his watch…which resulted in several minutes of him going “BIM…BOM…BIM…BOM…” attempting to do one per second. He failed, of course, as counting perfect seconds is very difficult. But that’s why Belén was saying “BIM…BOM…” with the chimes in the video.

    When subtitling the video, I confirmed that it is about three seconds between chimes (0.33 Hz) since I showed each subtitle number for two seconds.

    Grandpa Ramón uses extra small grapes to avoid choking. I really thought I got a picture of him and his mini-grapes, but I can’t find it anywhere. I’m pretty sure you can stream the chimes live over the internet (we did that in England), so maybe you can participate in realtime with us next year (added bonus: it’ll be at 6pm for you!).

  • that is truly one hell of a turkey…. you weren’t lying when you said it was big! and i’ve never shot up a turkey with jerez before, might give it a try…

    love the video of the grape choking exercise… i requested a plate of small ones this year and managed the whole thing without dying… but yes, you can manage to stuff twelve in, but swallowing is a whole other thing… according to my in-laws the whole grape thing started as a marketing exercise about 100 years ago, when the grape growers had a huge crop and didn’t know what to do with them all… have you heard that one??

    anyway, nice to meet you, great photo marga!!

  • Yes, Sharon, according to Wikipedia and the Spanish television news (which may or may not get their information from Wikipedia), the tradition started exactly 100 years ago, in 1909. To quote The All Knowing One:

    After the 12th strike everyone should have eaten all their 12 grapes, although this seldom happens due to its difficulty.

    What a load of crap grapa! I ate mine with no difficulty at all! Prospero año, here I come!

  • “I ate mine with no difficulty at all!”

    This is one of the upsides to having a big mouth , I reckon.

    *running away*

  • Jane, I’ve just about had enough of you!