New Year in Spain
Not for Spaniards the heavy stodge of black bun or shortbread. They prefer something altogether lighter to bring in the New Year. To navigate the transition between the old year and the year to come – año nuevo – Spaniards stay at home, and, at midnight, it’s customary to eat las doce uvas (the twelve lucky grapes), one on each stroke of the clock.
It doesn’t matter if they’re red or white, seedless or not, eating 12 grapes is supposed to bring good luck, prosperity, and happiness for the year ahead because they represent each month of the year.
The truth is that the practice became established in 1909, when some of Alicante’s vine growers popularized this custom in order to sell huge numbers of grapes from an excellent harvest.
Before COVID arrived (and ideally again in the future), families or friends usually got together for a delicious dinner and then meet in the central square or any iconic local place to welcome the new year on this special and magic night.
The chiming of the clock is broadcast on TV all over Spain. After eating the grapes, the atmosphere is an explosion of joy, fireworks, confetti, music and dance until the early hours.
This year like the previous one, the excitement will need to be much more contained and restricted in order to protect one another. However, I still encourage you to make the most of it with a physical or virtual toast, good wishes and resolutions.
Let’s be hopeful about 2022 and the good things to come. And above all, don’t forget to prepare your lucky grapes: the race to swallow all twelve before the clock stops chiming is lots of fun and your 5 a day fruit intake will be more than accomplished!
by Emi Pastor
Read about Spanish Christmas traditions in our earlier post here