The Twelve Grapes (Sp. Las doce uvas de la suerte, "The twelve grapes of luck") is a Spanish tradition that consists of eating a grape with each clock bell strike at midnight of December 31 to welcome the New Year.
The twelve grapes date 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 numbers of grapes from an excellent harvest. According to the tradition, eating the twelve grapes leads to a year of good luck and prosperity. In some areas, it is believed that it wards away witches and general evil, although this "magic" is treated like an old heritage, and in modern days it's viewed as a cultural tradition to welcome the new year.
There are two main places where people gather to eat the grapes: at home with the family after Nochevieja dinner or in the main squares around the country, being the Puerta del Sol in Madrid the most famous place to do it and where this tradition started.
The twelve grapes are closely related to the clock of the Royal House of the Post Office in Puerta del Sol, from where the change of year is broadcast on Spain's major networks, including Televisión Española since 1962.
This tradition was also adopted in places with a broad cultural relation with Spain and Latin American countries, as well as Hispanic communities in the United States. The Philippines has adopted the tradition as well. This tradition is part of the Hispanic Christmas festivities.
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- La Correspondencia de España. XLVII (13.844). Madrid. 1 January 1896. p. 3. Missing or empty
- Spicer, Dorothy Gladys (22 February 2008). Festivals of Western Europe. BiblioBazaar. p. 256. ISBN 9781437520163.
- McCann, Jim; Benedict, Jeanne (2001). Celebrations: a joyous guide to the holidays from past to present. Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated. p. 161. ISBN 9781557883735.
- Media related to Twelve Grapes at Wikimedia Commons