Plans for New Year’s Eve? I’m eating grapes

I’m sure each country has its own bizarre (or not) traditions come midnight when the clock strikes. Having said that, and having lived in 5 countries, I can’t seem to remember any at this moment. Hmph.

Anyway, tonight is called “Noche Vieja” (old night?) here in Spain, and the country has the tradition of eating (or gulping!?) 12 grapes in time with the midnight clock-chimes. It’s an ancient tradition that goes back to 1909 when there was a surplus production of grapes and the industry had to find a creative way of selling the grapes to get rid of them.

I’m told that, although you can buy small grapes in little bottles especially for this occasion, eating them all without getting your mouth stuffed or choking on a seed is practically impossible.

Also, there are 4 bongs before the actual 12 bongs, to alert you that it’s time to get your grapes ready and bring in the new year. Only in Spain would this make perfect sense 🙂

For those who don’t want to be part of the street madness tonight, but still want to go to Sol (Madrid’s center where the big clock is) and eat the grapes, every 30th December people gather there for a rehearsal of tonight! I almost went out of sheer curiosity and amusement, but in the end my sofa got the better of me. I will be going tonight though!

If you take part in any tradition tonight, do let us know what it was and how it went!

Happy New Year!

Posted by | Comments Off on Plans for New Year’s Eve? I’m eating grapes  | December 31, 2007
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

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