Day 32 – Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2023! Day 32 of the jIAPS Advent Calendar is 1st January 2023.

Achal Vinod has created today’s graphics to welcome the New Year. What will 2023 bring? What will you contribute to jIAPS in 2023?

Read Juan Ignacio Iribarren’s description of a traditional Christmas or New Year in Argentina below.

The IAPS Music Group has recorded a new song to celebrate the holiday season. Check it out here – to learn how to join the music group, just email us at

Hello everyone there! I’m Juan Ignacio Iribarren, a physics student at UNLP (Universidad Nacional de La Plata) in Argentina. I was born and have lived here ever since then. Today I want to share with you the joy of a traditional Christmas or New Year’s Eve in Argentina.

First, a brief reminder to those in the Northern Hemisphere: as this season takes place in December or January, in the South we celebrate them in summer! As you may imagine, that changes lots of the traditions and uses. The curious fact is that we inherited an enormous amount of Christmas symbolism from the Northern nations, such as the Christmas Tree or Santa Claus, better known here as Papá Noel. Take a moment to think of our houses decorated with snowed trees and guards and of us waiting for some old man wearing warm clothes, while we spend our afternoons in the pool with temperatures rounding 30°C, right at the beginning of the summer. It is always so contradictory!

Luckily celebrations start the Eve of Christmas or New Year, at night, when temperatures have already descended. During a regular day, we have dinner later than other cultures. Families usually take dinner after 8pm, even at 11pm – these meal times may change on these celebrations. Schedules are a bit reorganised according to each family, waiting for colder weather or trying to enjoy all the meal before midnight. The menu is vast: some would prefer something simple; others may rather have something more elaborate. Most tables will count with a Vitel Toné and Russian olivier salad, both European dishes brought by immigrants. Many families will choose to make an asado, a meat piece grilled as in a barbecue but without the sauce.

Those fortunate enough to have an outdoor garden may take dinner there; they have the grill outdoors or they prefer the cold breeze of the night. In suburbs, where relations between neighbours tend to be stronger, having dinner outside allows us to chat with them. Even certain places with quiet streets can be the scene of a gathering between neighbours using a big table where everyone fits. Once everyone is satisfied with the dinner, we must wait until midnight. Music, dance and even playing football or cards are the most chosen ways to spend the time.

At some moment, plays are left aside, music is turned off, the table is set for the expected moment. There may be tall cups served with apple cider or maybe even champagne and some sweet snacks such as Turrón, Panettone and the most known nougat dessert from Argentina, Mantecol. Everyone knows that there are only a few minutes or even seconds left for midnight but none knows how many exactly. That’s a scandal! Someone turns on the TV to tune the news which surely will have enormous numbers going down. Everyone takes part in a big choir which starts to countdown when there are a few seconds left.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you, students and readers from all over the world!