31 December 2013

Twelve Grapes

Sent by Heleen (the Netherlands).

This postcard is drawn by one of my favourite illustrators: the Finnish gardener and illustrator Inge Löök. I really love her funny aunties, I wish I were like them when I become an old lady.

My friend sent me this postcard in the beginning of 2013, to wish me a Happy New Year. It has been, indeed! And so I'm doing: I wish happy new year to those who started a new year tomorrow!

She also asked me about a Spanish tradition that consists in eating a grape with each bell strike at midnight of December 31. According to the tradition, that leads to twelve months of happiness and prosperity. Each grape is eaten with each beat of the bell. I assure you it is really difficult not to get choked!

It seems that this tradition started back in the latest years of XIX century, as a way to ridicule rich people who usually ate grapes with champagne. But it became established in 1909. In December of that year, some wine growers from the regions of Alacant and Murcia had problems to sell the overproduction of an excellent harvest. And they succeeded in popularize the custom.

I have read this tradition is also alive in places with a cultural relationship with Spain, but I am not sure about this point.

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