The Twelve Grapes (Sp. Las doce uvas de la suerte, "The twelve grapes of luck") is a Spanish tradition that dates back from at least 1895 but became established in 1909. In December of that year, some alicantese vine growers popularized this custom to better sell huge amounts of grapes from an excellent harvest.
The tradition consists in eating a grape with each bell strike at midnight of December 31. According to the tradition, that leads to a year of prosperity. In some areas, it is believed that the tradition wards away witches and general evil. Each grape is eaten with each beat of the bell.
The twelve grapes are linked to the Puerta del Sol tower clock, where this tradition started and from where the change of year is always broadcast.
This tradition was adopted also by places with a broad cultural relation with Spain such as Mexico and other Latin American countries, as well as Hispanic communities in the United States. Also the Philippines have adopted the tradition, they were part of the Spanish Empire.
- La Correspondencia de España, Madrid, Año XLVII, No. 13.844, January, 1 of 1896, pp.3
- Festivals of Western Europe Dorothy Gladys Spicer, 2008
- Celebrations: a joyous guide to the holidays from past to present Jim McCann, Jeanne Benedict, 2002
- Media related to Twelve Grapes at Wikimedia Commons