Eating 12 Grapes on New Year's Eve in SpainSince 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.
The Twelve Grapes to the chimes of the clock at midnight on New Years Eve has been a Spanish tradition since 1909. In December that year, some vine growers from the Alicante area came up with "The 12 Grapes" as an idea to sell huge amounts of grapes from an excellent harvest.
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.
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 and quite often 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.
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 great spirits.
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.
12 grapes in 12 seconds requires a lot of luck and no hesitation, so itís always a time for laughter and joking between the family members who gather that night.