Saturday December 29, 2012
The Twelve Grapes to the chimes of the Clock at midnight on New Tears Eve has been a Spanish tradition since 1909. In December taht year, some vinegrowers from the Alicante area came up with "The 12 Grapes" as an idea to sell huge amounts of grapes from an excellent harvest.
Since that time Spanish people have kept up the tradition as a way to celebrate New Year's Eve. On the last day of the year, the 31st of December, they wait until twelve p.m. Everybody has to have twelve grapes ready to eat when the clock starts to chime. It is traditional to listen to the clock from Puerta del Sol in Madrid and in other town squares around the country. In Granada you can take the grapes in Plaza del Carmen at seven munutes only from El Ladron de Agua Hotel.
When it is midnight in Spain on New Years Eve, each time the clock chimes, all the people put a grape in their mouth. By the time the clock has finished chiming, everybody has to have finished their grapes and the New Year starts, but nobody finishes eating the grapes on time.
Eating the grapes is very funny because everybody starts the New Year with a full mouthful of grapes. It's almost impossible to finish eating the grapes by the time the clock finishes chiming. Normally people still have all the grapes in their mouths, and they start looking at each other and have to laugh.
If you manage to eat the 12 grapes then you will have 12 months good luck.
You can imagine what would happens when they laugh with all the grapes in their mouths. It's really difficult to have a second to swallow them. I think you can imagine the rest of the story.
Twelve grapes, one for each of the 12 tolls of the bell the last 12 seconds of the old year, ending another set of 12 months - throughout Spain, families await these sets of 12 with excitement and humour.
It is a tradition in Spain, as well as in some Latin American countries, to eat a grape for each of the last 12 seconds of the ending year.
Parents generally prepare dishes of grapes for family members. You can't miss this tradition unless you want to be unlucky for the next 365 days.
Devouring 12 grapes in 12 seconds requires speed and experience, so it's always a time for laughter and joking between the family members who gather that night. The children almost never achieve it, but the adults compete to see who will be the first one to finish the grapes.
The last second of the year ends with laughs, gasps and hope, and it is followed by shouts, hugs, kisses, good-luck wishes and maybe some tears - brought on by grape seeds caught in the throat.
Then, it's time to dance, drink champagne and celebrate. The younger family members get ready for festivities that will keep them out until about 6 or 7 a.m.
It consists of eating a grape with each bell strike at midnight of December 31. According to the tradition, that leads to a year of prosperity.