Each region in Spain has its own customs and rituals for New Year's Eve. However, they all share one common tradition: eating 12 grapes at midnight.
It is not entirely clear where this tradition originated. There are several versions, but the most deeply rooted dates back to 1909: winegrowers from the Alicante region had such a surplus of grapes that they decided to freely distribute them to citizens, claiming it would bring good luck if eaten on New Year's Eve.
Las Doce Uvas de la Suerte
This is how the tradition of eating one grape at every chime of the clock was born: one for each month of the year. If you manage to eat all twelve grapes, it will bring good luck for the coming year. While mainland Spain focuses on the chiming bells of la Casa de Correos in Madrid, the Canary Islands annually choose a noteworthy spot on one of the beautiful islands from which to ring in the new year. The 1-hour time difference with the rest of Spain means that we can toast not once but twice in Tenerife.
This year's New Year's Eve bells will ring in... Tenerife!
This year, the honor of the Canary Islands'Campanadas (bells) falls to the municipality of Santa Úrsula in the north of Tenerife, offering moral support after the intense forest fires around this region earlier this year.
From the Plaza de San Luis, RTVE (Radio Televisión Española) broadcasts a festive gala with famous artists. This can be streamed via this YouTube channel, so be sure to check it out if you want to enjoy some Canarian flair on New Year's Eve. Would you like to toast with us?
Tips and traditions
Back to the 12 grapes at midnight. After years of experience, I am now what you call an expert in this field. And yet sometimes it's quite a challenge not to choke. Therefore, here are some small insider tips about this tradition:
- Preferably use (very) small grapes.
- Deseed them in advance. Nowadays you can also buy them without seeds at most supermarkets, so that is preferable. You can also remove the peel if you like.
- Make sure that at the moment suprême you have all 12 grapes in your hand (or in a small bowl in your hand); in any case, in such a way that you can easily reach it and you don't have to dig around in bags or containers that are too deep.
- Don't let the bystanders distract you. Some will look like a hamster with stuffed cheeks, others will choke or burst out laughing. But this is serious business! After all, it's about success and happiness in the next year.
hat last point is, of course, with a little wink; the tradition is mainly a fun way to ring in the new year.
It is also customary to match the color of your underwear to your wishes for the coming year. Each color has its meaning:
- Red: the symbolic color for desire and passion in the following year
- Blue: for peace and quiet, but also for success in new projects
- Green: represents health, hope and balance
- Purple: means prosperity and change
- White: this color symbolizes purity and renewal, the promise of new beginnings
Whatever color you choose, I hope all your dreams and wishes come true, and I wish you a wonderful New Year's Eve.
Lots of health, happiness and prosperity for 2024!
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