Happy New Year

Back once again, loaded with all sorts of citrus fruits, and even a few good intentions. All that will be written about at some other time, since tonight´s the night for grapes.

Whatever else there is for dinner, they´re the one thing that won´t be missing from any table. We eat one for each chime of the clock at midnight. It´s not a very old custom, but it´s firmly rooted, and here´s how it goes.

The clock has to be the one in Puerta del Sol in Madrid. That´s unless you´re in whatever big square with a clock you want elsewhere, live. Most people watch it on TV. Even though we´re late diners in this country, by midnight everyone will have finished, and had a few drinks, and feel a little sluggish, but things get lively as people scramble for position in front of the TV, and slowly count their plates of grapes to make sure there are twelve.

As the clock begins to chime, there´s a confused babble, as everybody shouts that these are just the cuartos, ignore them. This done, the actual twelve begin to sound, and you pop one grape for each. It´s not easy to gobble them up fast enough, and you´re bound to end with at least six in your mouth by the end.
Once swallowed, you then step into the new year with your right foot, and start kissing people and toasting and what not.

In my family, we like to do it standing on our left leg, to make sure that the first step is with the right foot. Making life more interesting, you see. Also, we put a coin in our right shoe, and gold in the champagne. Not materialistic, oh no.

Please note that peeling and de-pipping grapes beforehand is for wimps and small children. Likewise, eating the grapes after the clock has finished.

If you want to take it up, be warned that choking is part of the fun, and that I will in no way be responsible for any harm incurred during frantic back slapping.

13 comentarios:

Anónimo dijo...

Sounds delightful!

Happy New Year, Lobstersquad ... all the best in 2007!

Anónimo dijo...

That sounds like such fun! It must make for a very lively stroke of midnight and it's traditions that make a holiday truly memorable.

Happy New Year to you Ximena! I've so enjoyed reading your blog in 2006 and I've loved all the great illustrations. Looking forward to more in 2007.

Anónimo dijo...

Family and tradition is what life is about. I love the details - stand on left, first step on right - beautiful.
And a perfect illustration to go with the story- everytime all year.
Here's to a wonderful 2007 for us all!

Anónimo dijo...

What a great idea - grapes for every stroke of the clock. Much healthier and much more fun than my family tradition of twelve mince pies between Christmas and New Year. I've never managed more than four.

Thanks Ximena for fabulous posts and illustrations in 2006. Already looking forward to 2007.

Happy New Year

Cottage Smallholder

Cerebrum dijo...

Happy 2007 Ximena! Love your tradition - we usually jump from a chair into the new year and always forget which of the strokes means it is actually a new year - ah well! It's all fun!:-)

xps dijo...

Happy new yearrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) dijo...

What a wonderful tradition! Our New Year's tradition -- less inventive than yours -- is a bonfire out in the hay field, lit just at the first light of the new year.

Happy 2007!

Anónimo dijo...

Happy New Year to you! Hope you have a wonderful coming year.

Anónimo dijo...

I would fail miserably at the grape thing, as the balancing on one foot is beyond me- klutzy to the nth degree, especially after toasting in the coming year several times. Fortunately, I saw the New Year in sitting down. Cheers, and Happy New Year, Ximena.

Anónimo dijo...

Sounds like a wonderful way to enter the new year, choking on grapes and all! What better way to grow a friendship than hugging after someone has rescued you from a renegade grape? :D Happy 2007 Ximena, I hope it is a wonderful one for you!

Anónimo dijo...

We do exactly the same thing every year, eat 12 grapes at midnight! Is it a Spanish thing? I never really gave it much thought before and thought everyone did it. I loved soaking my grapes in my champagne about an hour before midnight, then guzzling it all.

Happy new year to you and yours! :)

lobstersquad dijo...

,Ivonne, Julie, Tanna, Fiona, Zarah Maria,Xps, Lydia, Bea, Lindy, Ellie and Christine: Happy New Year again to all. We survived, no choking, no broken legs when leaping from the chair, no swallowing rings in the champagne.
And yes, the grapes thing is a Spanish custom. Everyone does it over here.

Anónimo dijo...

A very happy 2007 for you! I may repeat myself, but every time I come to visit your site, I'm in complete awe over your illustrations!!