Twelve Grapes

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The twelve grapes ready to be taken

The Twelve Grapes[1] (Sp. las doce uvas de la suerte, "the twelve grapes of luck") is a Spanish tradition that consists of eating a grape with each of the twelve clock bell strikes at midnight of December 31 to welcome the New Year. Each grape and clock bell strike represents each of the coming twelve months.[2]

This tradition dates back from at least 1895[3] but was consolidated among the population in 1909. In December of that year, some Alicantese vine growers spread 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.[4] In some areas, this practice was also believed to ward off witches and evil in general,[4][2] although today it is mostly followed as a tradition to celebrate and welcome the New Year.

There are two types of places where people gather to eat the grapes: at home with family members after Nochevieja dinner, or in the main squares around the country, with the most famous being the Puerta del Sol in Madrid (and where this tradition started). The Twelve Grapes are closely related to the time ball and clock of the Royal House of the Post Office in Puerta del Sol, from where the change of year is broadcast on all major TV networks in Spain, including Televisión Española since 1962.[5][6]

The Twelve Grapes have also been adopted in places with a broad cultural relation with Spain and Latin American countries,[7] as well as Hispanic communities in countries such as the United States.[8] The Philippines has adopted the tradition as well (sometimes replacing the grapes by other fruits as oranges or watermelon).[9] This tradition is part of the Hispanic Christmas festivities.


  1. ^ "Hemeroteca Digital. Biblioteca Nacional de España". Retrieved 2018-08-29.
  2. ^ a b McCann, Jim; Benedict, Jeanne (2001). Celebrations: a joyous guide to the holidays from past to present. Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated. p. 161. ISBN 9781557883735.
  3. ^ "Edición de la mañana". La Correspondencia de España (in Spanish). Vol. XLVII, no. 13.844. Madrid. 1 January 1896. p. 3 (3rd column). ISSN 1137-1188. A las doce en punto de la noche saludaron los ministros la entrada del nuevo año comiendo ricas uvas ...
  4. ^ a b Spicer, Dorothy Gladys (22 February 2008). Festivals of Western Europe. BiblioBazaar. p. 256. ISBN 9781437520163.
  5. ^ "De campanadas en campanadas en TVE". RTVE (in Spanish). 2020-12-26. Retrieved 2022-01-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Puelles, Miriam (2019-12-31). "Historia de unas Campanadas: la retransmisión más tensa de la TV". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-01-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ "Por qué se comen 12 uvas a la medianoche y el origen de otras tradiciones de Año Nuevo en América Latina". BBC News Mundo (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-01-01.
  8. ^ Álvarez, Alex (2012-12-27). "15 Curious Latino New Year's Eve Traditions". ABC News. Retrieved 2022-01-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "10 Pinoy New Year's Eve superstitions". CNN Philippines. 2017-12-27. Retrieved 2022-01-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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