The 12 grapes New Years Eve ritual explained

The 12 grapes New Years Eve ritual explained
New Year's Traditions From Around the World

As the New Year approaches, different cultural traditions to bring good luck for the year ahead have been going viral on TikTok - and one of them includes eating grapes.

The term "12 grapes at midnight" has become a popular search term on the platform as people are keen to hear where this tradition originates from and what it's all about.

Latina content creator, Cassie (@smallbizcassie) went viral with a whopping 7m views for her explanation of the New Year grape tradition.

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"Eating 12 grapes at midnight is said to bring good luck for the New Year. I learned this tradition while living in Mexico," the on-screen text read.

"You’re supposed to make 12 wishes after each one & it’s like speaking it into existence," one commenter wrote.

To which Cassie agreed and added: "I’ve heard that! They do it different everywhere & some regions even eat raisins instead of grapes, which is way easier."


Go get some grapes and add this to your New Years Eve celebrations!🍇🥂🎉 #newyearseve #nye #countdownto2023 #happy2023 #nyetradition #newyearseve2022 #TasselAmor

Meanwhile, Erika Batista (@byerikabatistaone) also went viral with 500,000 views as she detailed that the tradition would need to go under the table at 11:58 pm on New Year’s Eve and eat 12 grapes until 12:01 am on New Year’s Day.

The grape tradition appears to originate from Spain where they kick the New Year off by eating 12 grapes (one for each month) with each of the twelve clock bell strikes and "each grape represents a wish for each of the months of the coming year," according to National Geographic.

Many may recognise the tradition after it was mentioned in the ABC sitcom Modern Familywhere in season four episode 11 called "New Year’s Eve" Gloria (Sofia Vergara) said she required 12 grapes for the midnight ritual.

She told her husband Jay (Ed O’Neill), each of the 12 grapes represents a wish she plans to make and believes her nice and successful life is down to her doing the tradition every year.

"Five years ago, I was a single mother living in a slum. Today, I'm driving to Palm Springs in my new car with my rich husband. You do what you want. I'm eating the grapes," Gloria tells her husband.

But when did this tradition begin?

Well, there are two theories - the first being that it dates back to 1909 when it was apparently a great grape harvest that year and producers sold packs of 12 of them as "lucky grapes."

However, National Geographic highlights that the tradition is mentioned in newspapers from 1882 and in those times the middle class used to drink champagne and eat grapes during their New Year's Eve dinner.

The working class scoffed grapes in La Puerta del Sol as the bells rang in an act of rebellion against a tax imposed in 1882 by José Abascal y Carredano, the mayor of Madrid, and this move was also to mock bourgeoise dining habits, according to The Local ES.

There are slight differentiations to the tradition, depending on the country - for example, in Peru people sit under the table while eating the grapes as per Savoured JourneysandHuffington Post.

Consuming 12 grapes in quick succession is no easy feat, as medical professionals have warned about the choking risk and recommended seedless, skinless grapes.

We'll have to wait and see if 2023 brings good luck for those who decided to wolf down 12 grapes on New Year but there are also other New Year traditions from around the world such as wearing red.

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