Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Lucky Grapes (Las Uvas de La Suerte)

It is a tradition in Spain to celebrate the end of a year and the beginning of the next with "las uvas de la suerte" or lucky grapes. This tradition goes back to the end of the XIX century, but it really got a push in 1909 when there was a surplus of grapes, and some vineyard owners got creative and decided to commercialize them as the lucky grapes and from there it took off.




Why 12? Because at 12:00 we change from one year to another and the bell strikes 12 times. And why lucky? Because one is supposed to eat a grape with each bell strike, not before and not later, one at a time in unison with each strike. If you do that you will have a lucky year. In Spain, friends and families will gather at "Puerta del Sol" in Madrid, but most  Spanish families will turn on their TV sets to Puerta del Sol to watch the Bell Tower in the old Post Office Building. Puerta del Sol is the center of Madrid and it is also the km zero. After the bell strikes are over everybody gets ready to go out and spend the night celebrating with family and friends. This day everyone belongs to one family. 


At 4:55 PM in the U.S. We turn to Spanish TV, get on Skype and celebrate with the rest of the family. Who would have imagined in 1909 that we would be able to do something like this?

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