Man eating grapes on New Year's Eve
12 Grapes At Midnight: Spain's Unique New Year's Eve Tradition
The new year is always touched by a hint of superstition, and citizens of Spain have their own special tradition called "las doce uvas de la suerte," or the "twelve lucky grapes."
The tradition is to try and eat one grape for every one of the twelve clock chimes that ring in the new year at midnight and finish all the grapes before the chimes finish ringing.
One of many stories claiming to explain the tradition’s origins states that winemakers in Alicante started the superstition in 1909 as a way to sell off their surplus of grapes.
Some claim the tradition morphed in the 1880s out of the French tradition of eating grapes and drinking champagne on New Year's Eve, which was mimicked by the Madrid bourgeoisie.
Eventually, members of the lower classes took to eating the grapes to mock the bourgeoisie, meeting up in public squares like the Puerta del Sol with its historic clock tower.
The grapes can be eaten at home or in front of a clock tower. White Aledo grapes from Alicante are traditional and are sold in packs of 12 by Spanish grocers around the new year.
Over the years, the tradition has spread to many countries in South and Latin America and has even gotten some global attention recently after going viral as a TikTok challenge.