Eating 12 Grapes on New Year's Eve in Spain
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.
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 for the twelfth time, everybody has to have finished their grapes and the New Year starts, but in reality nobody finishes eating the grapes on time.
Another story about how the tradition started in Spain is that one year when there was a big grape harvest, the king of Spain decided to give grapes to everybody to eat on New Year's Eve.
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 ó throughout Spain, families await these sets of 12 with excitement and humour.
Parents generally prepare dishes of grapes for family members. You canít 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 itís always a time for laughter and joking between the family members who gather that night.
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 ó brought on by grape seeds caught in the throat.
Then, itís time to dance, drink champagne and celebrate. The festivities that will keep them out until about 6 or 7 a.m.