As midnight approaches on New Year’s Eve, many thousands of people across Spain will be clutching an important good-luck charm: 12 uvas (grapes) to bring fortune throughout the next 12 months. (LINK)

The idea is to pop one grape into your mouth as each stroke of midnight chimes. And it´s actually trickier than it sounds – chewing and swallowing one quickly in time to gulp the next one, and especially if you happen to be standing in a crowd surrounded by giggling friends or family. Supermarkets and shops cater to this by selling packages of a dozen seedless grapes to pop at a moment´s notice.

(And an interesting historical note: this tradition dates back to 1882, when a Scrooge-like Madrid mayor imposed a tax (!) on holiday parties, discriminating against the less well off – so a bunch of workers staged a “protest” celebration in downtown´s Puerta del Sol, popping a grape at each ring of the bell to make fun of upper-crust dining customs.

Also keep in mind that you´ll want to try to chew the grapes thoroughly to avoid choking, with old folks and young kids especially at risk)

Read more in my post 5 of Spain's Special New Year's Traditions.

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