9. Grape Eating – Spain
Though not a touch as anarchic as Ecuador’s tradition, there’s something charming and quaint about Spain’s own way of bringing in the new year. The so-called “Twelve Grapes” celebration has been dated as far back as 1895, and is reportedly rooted in a crafty commercial practise to get people to buy more grapes, which it seems to do with stunning aplomb.
The tradition has Spaniards fill a bowl or champagne glass with twelve grapes, one of which is consumed with each chime of the bell at midnight on New Year’s Eve, with each grape representing one month of the year passing by. Given the quick succession of the chimes, it becomes something of a game for its participants; they have to quickly scoff down each grape or risk choking to death on a mouthful of squashed fruit. Though not as outwardly dangerous as the Ecuadorian tradition, it at least poses its own cheeky hazard.
This article was first posted on January 1, 2013