Thursday, December 11, 2014

University New Year's Eve

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La Nochevieja Universitaria (something like a student’s New Year’s Eve) is one of the most ‘important’ events of the academic year although it doesn't have many things in common with studying and a lot more to do with enjoying the student life itself. It has a ‘long standing’ tradition (this year is its 10th anniversary) and became an event not only for the students in Salamanca but also for the students from the whole of Spain and even other countries.

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It started in 1999 when around a dozen of students gathered in Plaza Mayor to celebrate the end of the year with their classmates and flatmates before they all headed to their respective homes to spend the holidays with their families. The following year they did it again but with more people since the word spread and the ‘event’ kept growing. Since it was becoming a ‘large’ phenomenon, in 2004 an event management company took over the event and from then onwards it keeps gaining popularity. In 2013, almost 45,000 people attended the event and the whole show made it to the national news. This year La Nochevieja Universitaria takes place on December 11th and even more students are expected to arrive.

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The show (live music, visual show, etc.) at Plaza Mayor is open to everyone, however, people can buy tickets for ‘pub crawls’, VIP back stage access, special ‘La Nochevieja Universitaria package’ including ‘gominolas’ (gummies), Santa hats and other accessories needed to make it a special and unforgettable night. The ‘gominolas’ are tied to the Spanish NYE tradition of eating 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight for good luck in the New Year. However, in 1999 the students didn't have grapes and thus they ate 12 gummy bears. Since then the tradition has evolved and now you can even buy gummies that look and taste like grapes but are in fact made out of jelly thus bridging the traditional NYE with the student one. 

What is definitely worth mentioning is the amazing 3D light show that took place last year. This visual spectacle raised certain questions since it was sponsored by a brand of rum and some people were asking whether it was appropriate. However, rum or no rum, it was seriously cool (as you will see for yourself in the video at the end of the post) and I would have definitely liked to see it live.

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Lot of students will also stay in Salamanca overnight or even for the weekend since accommodation can also be included in the 'package'. Therefore, it goes without saying that this event is also economically significant to the hospitality sector which is highly important for Salamanca as well as the municipality itself. In 2011 only the consumptions related directly to La Nochevieja Universitaria reached a revenue of 150,000 euros. To ensure that everything runs smoothly the municipality strengthens the police presence as well as the intensity of the cleaning services.

So, as you can see, if you are in Salamanca on December 11, 2014 it is almost obligatory to attend La Nochevieja Universitaria. It might even be a good idea to invite your friends over and let them experience this unique event and its atmosphere. After all, it’s not every day you will see something like this…

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