“Botellón” literally translates as “big bottle” and comes from the bottles of alcohol that young people typically bring with them to unofficial celebrations that take place in city streets, plazas, parking lots and around the most popular pubs and discoteques.
Young people across Spain are accustomed to going out at night with their friends and staying out much later – even at relatively young ages – than many parents from other parts of the world are prepared to accept for their children. However, this is a deeply rooted part of the culture and doesn’t necessarily imply that kids are doing anything they shouldn’t be. Not all of them are caught up in the “botellón” drinking sprees.
The day after a big “botellón” street party, the area where young people have had their fun requires special cleaning crews to scoop up the empty bottles, plastic cups and other debris – and to pressure wash the sticky pavements. This mess, in addition to the noise the partygoers make, has pushed older adults in many areas to organise protests and demand help from the town hall in order to find suitable areas for young people to carry on their late night customs without bothering anyone.