3,2,1 … Happy New Year!

Prepare your grapes and be around a clock! While americans might enjoy the tradition of the ringing in the New Year with a glass of champagne, Spaniards have another tradition, lesser known to foreigners. At the strike of midnight, the Spanish eat twelve grapes to ring in the New Year.

This tradition dates back to 1905 when southern wine producers had a surplus of grapes and found a way to sell the excess. This moment is usually celebrated with family in front of a television in order to watch and see the 12 bells live. Many people (also tourists) prefer to watch the spectacle live in Puerta del Sol, even if it is very cold outside. They do this in order to live the moment when the clock strikes midnight.

These grapes represent each month of the year. If the grape is sweet, it is believed that the month will be a good one. If the grape is sour, it indicates it will be a bad month. The goal is to eat all of the grapes within the first twelve seconds of the New Year. This can not only end up causing pressure, but competition between friends and family. Today in order to make this tradition easier for the consumer, it is common to find skinless and seedless grapes in Spanish supermarkets already packaged in a bag of twelve.

Spain is not the only country that indulges in this tradition. Many Latin American countries and even the Philippines eat grapes the first few seconds of the New Year.

While this tradition may seem odd, it is definitely not the weirdest way to ring in the new Year. In Denmark, at the stroke of midnight purposely break their unused dishes at the doors of their friends and family. The Danes also engage in other semi odd traditions such as jumping off of chairs to celebrate the New Year.

Some Latin American countries such as Colombia and Mexico have a tradition that is supposed to bring travel to one’s year. People take their suitcases at the stroke of midnight and run down the street and back with them. In Colombia people actually carry the suitcases around all day. Who participates is supposed to have a year full of travel and adventure.

In Scotland, their is a tradition of ‘first-footing.’ The first person who passes through the front door of the house on the New Year must bring a gift. It is seen as a sign of good luck.

The French have a very classy way of ringing in the New Year. By putting a gold object into their glass of champagne, they hope to bring about a prosperous year. Another curious fact about the French is that on New Years many partners kiss under the mistletoe at midnight. Along the Champs-Elyseés, is a rival celebration to its New York City counterpart. Much like Times Square, there is a countdown and a spectacular firework show.

Chileans have a scarier tradition. Many people visit the graveyards of their loved ones and spend the night. The tradition is said to have started when a family broke in one year to be next to their loved one.

In Brazil, thousands of people head to the beach wearing white. The color white symbolizes peace. If you can’t find an all white outfit, no worries. Other acceptable colors are green, yellow, red, and purple. Green symbolizing good health, yellow to wealth, red to passion and love, and purple symbolizing inspiration.  

On the continent of Asia, New Years festivities do not take place on January first in the countries of Korea, China, Japan and Vietnam. Instead, these countries have their big celebrations according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, which usually takes place in February.

No matter what traditions you choose to incorporate this New Year, Cinnamon Events wish you a happy 2018!