Twelve grapes, twelve wishes… Happy New Year 2018!
Doubtlessly, New Year´s Eve is one of the most fascinating nights of the year. Thrill, enthusiasm and sparkle in every corner. For most Spanish people, everything is about tradition and habits. We look forward to hold our family and friends in our arms and kiss them, after eating the famous twelve grapes to begin the New Year 2018. Do you want to know where this tradition comes from?
Eating the twelve grapes (or chimes, as we say in our country) is a original Spanish tradition, which has spread to other Latin American countries such as Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia or Costa Rica. In thrilling silence, at twelve o clock on December 31st, everyone comes together to eat twelve grapes, one for each chime. At Puerta del Sol (Madrid), thousands of people meet at the famous ancient clock to eat the grapes together with those who are present, and also those who are not, as there is a live broadcast from there for all TV channels.
It is said that the tradition began in 1882. The bourgeoisie used to drink champagne and eat grapes during dinner on New Year´s Eve, and a group of Spanish people in Madrid decided to parody this tradition by going to Puerta del Sol and eat greats while listening to the chimes. Others say the tradition began in 1909, a good year for grape harvest. The growers decided to make the most of the grape sale by naming them “the good luck grapes”. There are other traditions in Spain for December 31st, such as wearing red underwear. This tradition may come from China and Vietnam, as in these countries red or yellow underwear is used to attract good vibes. Other people put their golden ring in the glass of champagne while drinking, or put money in their shoes to welcome the New Year. Those wanting to travel in the New Year, should put an empty suitcase in front of a door. And those who want to attract the good fortune, should eat lentils on that night!
As the Spanish New Year´s Eve hymn par excellence says (Mecano´s song “un año más”), on this night
“looking back, we remember all good and bad things happening this year, five minutes before the countdown begins (…)
Sailors, soldiers, the single and married ones
Lovers, wanderers and some absent-minded priest
Yelling and whistling, all Spanish big and little people do for once something at a time”
Be careful, don´t choke on a grape! First wish, second wish, third wish… This wave takes the year 2017 with it… Welcome 2018!