Wednesday, January 1, 2014

At The Stroke of Midnight

The tradition is called "las doce uvas" ("the twelve grapes"). On New Year's Eve, when the clock begins to strike midnight, just about everyone can be seen popping grapes in their mouths. One grape per clock chime until you've consumed twelve grapes. If you succeed, it's said that you'll have a prosperous year. (Click any image to make it bigger.)

You can, of course, buy loose grapes and count out twelve yourself (in my world, that's known as "cooking"). But all the stores sell pre-packaged versions just for the occasion.

31 DECEMBER 2013.
Our first New Year's Eve in Spain, San Geraldo and I joined the crowd at Plaza Nueva in Sevilla. We had purchased two New Year's 12-packs of grapes. But when we popped them into our mouths, we discovered they had seeds. San Geraldo tried to keep pace while spitting seeds.

I swallowed. I'm sure I have an entire vineyard growing in my stomach... Along with watermelons. Wherever, that is, my stomach isn't already stuck together with chewing gum.

Last year, our second New Year's Eve in Sevilla, we were invited to welcome in 2013 at a private dinner where we were given individual containers of grapes — seedless for San Geraldo. Seeds for me to swallow. No problem.

This year, San Geraldo bought a beautiful bunch of seedless grapes from Ana Crespillo and made up a 12-grape plastic bag for each of us. We walked over to Plaza Constitución around 11:30 and waited for the clock (in the tower of the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary) to strike midnight.

PLAZA CONSTITUCIÓN, FUENGIROLA.  JUST BEFORE MIDNIGHT.

Until the clock began to chime, we hadn't noticed how large our grapes were. More like small plums. I can usually pop and swallow a grape at each clock chime (seeds included). But last night, the eighth grape joined seven others already in my mouth. San Geraldo was in the same boat. We did our best but I don't know if we'll be prospering in 2014.

Next year, small seedless grapes.

ALL AGLOW...
NOCHE VIEJA (OLD NIGHT OR NEW YEAR'S EVE) 2013 .
AÑO NUEVO (NEW YEAR) 2014.
HEADING BACK TO THE BEACH ALONG MIGUEL DE CERVANTES STREET.

27 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos and I love the grapes tradition!

    Happy New Year!

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    Replies
    1. Robert:
      I love the grapes tradition, too. But we have to perfect our approach. Happy New Year!

      Delete
  2. I took twelve gulps of champagne .... made from grapes ... so does that count?


    HNY2014 to you and San Geraldo!

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    1. Bob:
      Apparently, a lot of people do 12 gulps of champagne instead. Others do raisins! I suppose all that matters is if you BELIEVE!

      Delete
  3. Happy New Year! Twelve Grapes! That's a custom I've never heard of before. I'll have a year to think about whether I want to try this next December 31st at the stroke of midnight/so may I mean next January 1st.....Here's to you finding small and seedless grapes next year!

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    Replies
    1. Kristi:
      Maybe I'll try raisins next year. But, instead of prosperity, I wonder if that brings a year of penny pinching.

      Delete
  4. In my country we also do the 12 grapes ritual. But being Cuban it also requires a greater degree of challenge. Not only are you supposed to eat the grapes before the clock strikes midnight...you also have to throw a bucket of water out the window, preferably water that was used to rinse the mop which wiped away the "malos espíritus" and the inmundicias. Many unsuspecting passerby has been soaked in dirty water at that hour. So the advice we follow is to stay put a good ten or fifteen minutes after midnight and use the time to drink some Sidra or "España en llamas" which is sidra with brandy.

    Happy new year to you both, all the best wishes.

    saludos,
    raulito

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    Replies
    1. Raulito:
      I love the idea of washing away the malos espiritus... as long as I'm nowhere nearby. ¡Feliz año nuevo!

      Delete
  5. It would be interesting to see an image of your stomach contents :) - although I was told that chewing gum would stick to your ribs. (Still not sure how it would get there)

    Best wishes to you and San Geraldo for a happy and prosperous New Year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Forgot to mention the great picture of you and San Geraldo! And to wish Moose and Dudo a new year filled with toys, treats, and love.

      Delete
    2. Jo:
      I was brought up believing it was a good thing when something "stuck to your ribs." It was another way of saying "It'll put meat on your bones." Wishing you a happy, healthy new year!

      Delete
  6. You two look festive! I really like that Spanish tradition and think I would be OK getting down the 12 grapes.....will have to try that out next year.
    Happy New Year to you both!

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    Replies
    1. Jim:
      I don't find that hard to do. Think small!

      Delete
  7. I love grapes but I doubt I could have eaten twelve during a countdown. But I do want to wish you and San Geraldo a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

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  8. I've always liked to crunch grape seeds with my teeth and swallow them.. Adds to the flavour. And so far nothing has grown out - either end.

    A very happy and an even more very healthy 2014 to you and S.G., Mitch - plus, of course, the two little 'uns. From me & 'the gang'.

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    1. Raybeard:
      Oh, thanks for sharing (not)! You and San Geraldo would get along so well.

      Wishing you a great year!

      Delete
  9. I've never heard of the grape tradition.. in our family it was ham and cabbage (but not a midnight). Wonder where all these traditions come from?

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    1. Sharon:
      Sure hope there was no time limit on consuming the ham and cabbage. Blech!

      Delete
  10. Wow - I heard of these grapes for the first time only 24 hours ago,and here you are verifying it is so! She had to find hers through rummaging through some fruit cocktail.
    May 2014 be a marvelous one for you!

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    Replies
    1. Spo:
      Hmmm... Fruit cocktail grapes would go down easily. Good idea. (Except for having to pick them out of the mix... Cooking!)

      Delete
  11. I remember that tradition from our New Year in Madrid, it was easy to do small seedless grapes. Apparently I am told this all started only about 20 years ago or so. A bumper crop of grapes and not knowing what to do with it all, merchants got together and invented this tradition. Works for me. Happy New Year.

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    1. Laurent:
      It actually started in the late 1890s but really took off around 1909 because of a huge harvest. Smart grape growers. I love the tradition. Happy New Year to you, as well!

      Delete
  12. Ahhhhh, love these traditions :) Great photos. Hope 2014 is wonderful for you and Jerry, and for your Dowager Duchess mom and your hermano :) And all of the great friends and relatives whose lives touch yours.
    Judy

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    Replies
    1. Judy:
      Thanks so much and wishing you and yours the same!

      Delete
  13. Happy new year to you both!

    ReplyDelete

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