Daily Archives: December 31, 2019

THE 12 LUCKY GRAPES (ALL LEVELS)

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PHOTO:Phatymak’s Studio / Shutterstock

The way of celebrating New Year’s Eve in Spain is almost the same throughout the country and the Spanish tradition of Nochevieja (literally “Old Night”) says that when the clock strikes 12 at midnight, twelve grapes are eaten symbolizing happiness, hope, and good wishes for the coming year.

This grape-eating tradition was introduced into Spanish society in the early 20th century. In 1909, Alicante’s wine makers created this unique end-of-the-year Spanish custom as a solution to their post-harvest grape surplus. Today, the tradition is followed by every Spaniard, and the twelve “lucky grapes” have become synonymous with the Spanish New Year.

The 12 grapes coincide with the first 12 chimes (12 seconds) of the clock on New Year – Año Nuevo. The Spanish believe each grape represents each month of the New Year and eating it brings good luck. The actual countdown is followed by millions of Spaniards gathered on Puerta Del Sol in Madrid in an event televised nationwide; just as each town and city also hold their own countdowns. When the clock finishes striking twelve and all the grapes have been eaten, people greet each other with a hug and a kiss and the toasting begins with sparkling Spanish “cava” (a champagne from Catalunya), or alternatively with cider.

After the countdown celebrations, many young people attend New Year parties that range from small, personal celebrations at local bars and discos to huge parties with guests numbering the thousands at hotel convention rooms and rental venues. These parties are called cotillónes and usually last until the next morning.

To prepare for the Nochevieja occasion, many supermarkets and local shops sell a variety of “New Years’ grapes”: it consists of a small tin can that contains 12 seedless (and sometimes peeled) grapes, for easier consumption. Traditionalists still prefer the “old way” of eating the grapes: buying them whole, still attached to their wreath, and peel them as they wait for the countdown.

On Spanish New Year’s Eve superstitious people believe that wearing red brings good luck: as long as the red item is given to you as a gift by someone else… and the gift primarily consist of a red piece of underwear.

DO YOU KNOW ABOUT ANY OTHER WEIRD NEW YEAR´S EVE TRADITION AROUND THE WORLD?

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