Swallowing 12 Grapes to Celebrate the New Year

Last Updated on January 14, 2024

In preparation for the clock striking 12, I was asked by my boyfriend’s parents to help sort a bag of green grapes into small bowls, designating a total of 12 grapes for each person. I rinsed the grapes and began the process of selecting the plumpest ones I could find.

12 grapes

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.

I counted out the grapes bowl-by-bowl making sure everyone had exactly 12. This bizarre New Years’ tradition was completely unfamiliar to me as my family has never celebrated New Years’ with grapes before.

Bowl 12 Grapes

I carried out the grapes to the TV room where Jorge and his family were preparing the champagne and television for the New Years’ ball to drop in roughly 15 minutes. I noticed Jorge and his sister started removing small seeds from their grapes so I followed suit. Before I could finish removing the seeds from my last two grapes, the New Years’ countdown had begun! AHH!

12 Grapes Spain New Year

The clock appeared on the screen. In the last 12 seconds before the new year, a gong-sounding bell rang with each passing second. At the strike of each second, we all ate one grape after another. I seriously underestimated the difficulty of the grapes. I thought I could quickly swallow each one before eating the next but I’m pretty sure it was physically impossible. By the end of the 12 seconds, I had a mouth full of grapes that I didn’t know what to do with!

Jorge’s family swallowed their grapes so quickly and I was still struggling to chew all of mine. ? I kept trying and eventually managed to swallow them but I won’t deny that it was a major struggle. I guess practice makes perfect.

Feliz Año Nuevo

Feliz Año Nuevo!” we said to one another as we cheerily welcomed the start of 2017.

Feliz Año Nuevo Spain

Following the celebration, Jorge and I started getting ready to go out to celebrate the New Year. We had two City Tour passes that would grant us entry into almost any bar or club in the nearby area. A bunch of his friends were going out with us too. We all met up around 1:30 AM (just to be clear, already past my bedtime…) and partied the whole night away. In Spain, it is typical to party all night on New Years’ until it is time for breakfast the following morning and then you go out for breakfast and get Chocolate and Churros.

Spain Albacete New Years City Tour

Spain New Years Partying

I had a total blast celebrating New Years in Spain. The clubs played English and Spanish music which was great since I could experience new music while also enjoying some of what was already familiar to me. As far as alcohol goes, the bars were serving gin tonics and Jägerbombs and the drink selection was mostly limited to just that since the workers were essentially mass-producing those drinks for the hundreds of people who had access to their open bar. We made it through the night and stayed out until around 7 AM the following day. It was crazy but so so fun.

I think my favorite part of celebrating New Years’ in Spain was how classy everyone made it. The girls all wore dresses while men wore suits to go out. I thought the formal look was a fascinating choice after seeing how fantastically lively it got in the late hours of the night. And for the record, Spanish people are very good dancers.


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