When the clock strikes midnight on the 31st of December, everyone else around the world toasts to the best wishes for the New Year with a glass of Champagne. However, the Spanish focus on counting up to twelve. With every stroke of the clock’s gong they eat one grape that is said to bring prosperity.
The story of the tradition ‘uvas de la suerte (lucky grapes)’ came from Alicante, where in 1909 the grapes harvest were very profitable and in order to sell all of their harvest the producers created a story to influence people to buy more grapes, which later transformed into a superstition.
On New Year’s Eve, in every Spanish city, a crowd gathers in the main square in front of the clock tower. On Plaza Mayor in Madrid, many people gather already one day before during the final rehearsal. The Spanish go crazy with their New Year’s habit of grape consumption! A friend of mine explained, that he loves the moment every year when his entire family starts the battle of the clock to look for luck 12 times. “Nothing makes me happier, than the view of my grandma waiting in anticipation for the TV presenter to start counting up to 10 to start the grape party.”
Last year, the day before New Year’s Eve I took part in the final preparation of the clock’s tuning in the northern city of Spain, Logroño . It’s really impressive to see how popular this tradition is. Already in November, you can find grapes in cans produced especially for this occasion in all the supermarkets. The bigger grapes for older people and the smaller grapes without seeds, for kids.
And what if someone doesn’t like grapes? Does this mean that they have 12 months without luck? There is a solution for everything in Spain – sweets in a shape of a grapes!