The First Twelve Seconds – A New Year’s Tradition

What is the very first thing you do in the New Year? Is it watching a dropping ball, as in New York City? Kiss your loved ones, sing or hug? Pop the bubbly open and share a toast?

For many people in Mexico, except for the dropping ball, all of the above, but not until everyone has emptied the glass flutes prepared for each person, with exactly twelve grapes; the first twelve seconds of the new year are spent eating the grapes, one for each stroke of midnight, in pursuit of getting good luck and prosperity for the entire year!

In Spain, the inception of this tradition occurred sometime at the turn of the 20th century, and every year people continue to observe it at home or public places, such as by the famous Puerta del Sol clock tower in Madrid, where the attendants eat a grape with each bell strike at midnight of December 31.  The tradition has been adopted not only in Mexico, but other Latin American countries and also in the Philippines.

So long 2018, welcome 2019!

Happy New Year! ¡Próspero Año Nuevo!


Note:  Not to throw dirt on this tradition, but I used to cheat a little and spend the last minute of the old year peeling (and seeding, if needed) my grapes, to avoid a choking hazard, and once I had children, I abandoned the practice all together.  Safety first, right? On the positive side, that has allowed us to splurge on twelve extra seconds to kiss, sing, hug and share a toast.


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