Eating 12 grapes at midnight: A popular tradition during New Year’s

Local News

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – “Three…two…one” is what you wait to hear the night of New Year’s Eve before you hug and kiss your loved ones to ring in the upcoming year.

But in some households, you also eat 12 grapes as soon as the clock hits midnight, a popular tradition in Latino households. 

“With the grapes, we would take 12 grapes that were 12 wishes, and every time you would hear the bell at midnight, you would eat a grape and wish for something,” Jennifer Gastélum, a manager at El Mercado Súper. 

The 12 grapes represent the 12 months of the year.

For El Mercado Súper they knew today would be one of the busiest. 

“Normally, today is the day that we sell grapes the most,” Gastélum said. 

For Gastélum, she celebrates this tradition to this day, but she said this isn’t the only one she remembers participating in as a kid. 

She said she and her family would take out their suitcases with the hope that traveling would be in their future. 

“When it would hit 12, my mom would make us take out our luggage and we would go outside and walk with our suitcases,” she said. 

They would also pass around 12 coins on New Year’s Eve, which signified prosperity. 

Others have a similar tradition, but with black-eyed peas. They’re supposed to resemble coins, which bring prosperity. 

With the many traditions Jennifer took part in, she said she continues to eat the grapes at midnight since she moved to the United States.

“It gives you a nostalgic feeling, it’s nice to remember what you did as a kid,” Gastélum said. “Although my parents are in Mexico right now, I like to feel as if they’re here with me.”

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