Origin of Twelve Grapes   in Spain

Origin of Twelve Grapes in Spain

If you are going to join a Madrid Tapas Tours, your guide will definitely, and proudly mention the custom of eating twelve grapes in Spain during the last 12 seconds of the year, one for every second, if you succeed you are blessed with good luck for the whole New Year. Most Spaniards, and some Latin American countries have been indulging on this tradition for over 100 years. Today we are going to explain the origins and how to properly indulge on this challenging tradition of eating twelve grapes on New Year’s in Spain. It isn’t easy, as you can very well imagine.

The Spanish tradition of eating twelve grapes in Spain goes back to the late 1800’s where it was common in high-class families to combine champagne with grapes at celebrations and parties.

It really wasn’t until the year 1909 where common people started this tradition because some wine producers had a very good harvest that year, and decided to donate barrels of grapes at Madrid’s Puerta del Sol on the 31st of December, the equivalent to New York’s Time Square.

Madrid Grape tradition
Madrid’s Puerta del Sol is in the heart of Madrid’s historical city center.

No one is really sure who did it first, but someone had the unique idea of eating 12 grapes, along with the last twelve bells of the year that ring in on the clock tower at Puerta del Sol, one grape for every bell-chime. It’s the only time in the year that this bussling square becomes quiet for 12 seconds… This tradition of eating twelve grapes in Spain is televised throughout Spain where families get together for New Year’s Dinner.

It’s a challenge to eat twelve grapes in just twelve seconds time, we recommend practicing a few times with M&M’s before going to the real thing. Grapes have a lot of seeds and are very juicy too!

Join us on one of our many Madrid Tapas Tours for some of the best Spanish Tapas in Madrid!


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