Traditional New Year’s Eve in Spain: the twelve grapes - The Spanish Academy

Traditional New Year’s Eve in Spain: the twelve grapes

It’s New Year’s Eve and everybody is getting ready to say goodbye to 2016. There is a special tradition in Spain for the last night of the year. We call that night “Nochevieja” which means “night old”. It consists about eating 12 grapes at 12 o’clock during the 12 gongs of a clock. This will bring you good luck during the following year.

This funny tradition started in 1909 because of an excess of harvest. Before that date, rich people used to drink champagne and eat grapes the last night of the year. In 1909 a crowd of poor people was protesting because the government wanted to tax parties in the street. These people started to make fun of the rich eating grapes on the new year’s eve. Nowadays it’s a tradition that every Spanish enjoys with family and friends. So if you go to Spain to spend a Nochevieja, at some point, you will find on the table something like this:

And how does it work? There is one bowl with 12 grapes for every person. Everybody gathers in front of the television. TV channels shows an emblematic clock in a place where a lot of people are going to celebrate and eat the grapes. The one in Madrid is the most popular. The presenters explain to the audience how to eat the grapes according to the different sounds of the clock. When the time comes, it goes like this:

But that is what you see in television. The funny thing is when you eat the grapes together with your friends and family. Here you have a video of a group of friends. Look how seriously they take it, though some can’t stand laughing ?

Since it is a tradition that everybody does, TV commercials are very expensive. Ratings are extremely high. Some brands spend a lot of money to be the first TV commercial of the year. But sometimes channels make mistakes. This is the funny video of a family ready to eat the grapes but the channel showed a commercial instead by mistake. You don’t need to understand Spanish to know what it’s happening. At 1:01 they realize that the year has already started and they didn’t eat the grapes. And at 1:46 they eat them quickly because it’s bad luck if you don’t !!! :):):)

From The Spanish Academy we want to wish you a happy new year 2017 full of happiness and joy. And remember always to speak and smile ?

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