|New Year's Eve Tradition: The Luck of the Grapes|
Friday, January 6, 2017
THE LUCK OF THE 12 GRAPES
'Tis the New Year 2017 and Louisiana tradition entails feasting on one of a few sacred trinities: cabbage, cornbread, and black-eyed peas. (Another being the Holy Cajun Trinity consisting of onions, green peppers, and celery as the proper base for gumbo.) Rarely have I met anyone from the Who Dat Nation that abstains from annually partaking, even if we greatly dislike the texture of the peas. Louisiana, is in fact a southern State, stemming from diverse cultural generations of superstitions, voodoo dolls, and graveside parties celebrating life instead of mournful tears.
This year our family had a guest who also comes from a deeply rooted background of traditions and located further South across the border - Mexico. Everyone lined up 12 freshly washed grapes at midnight on December 31. It's actually too many to hold in your hand at once, especially if you are in Texas where everything is bigger, even the grapes. Prior to midnight you must eat one grape per second to coincide with the last 12 strokes of the clock for the year.
According to the celebration it is best to be near a clock that has a loud chime, blong, or device that has a precise sound. We have a large wall clock that ticks but alas ate the grapes at the dinner table instead. Not all of the kids like grapes so it became a fun experience just to watch them voluntarily participate so as not to be left out of the moment.
Dating back to the 1800's, the 12 Grapes of Luck is known as "las doce uvas de la suerte." Why do people put so many grapes into their mouths at midnight each year? Well, if you do this, you'll have good luck throughout the New Year and some believe that if they make a wish while doing this, it will come true. The Spanish tradition dates back to 1895, became established in 1909, and they believe that it leads to a year of prosperity.
Do these random culinary traditions actually affect the outcome of the year? You'll have to try it at the end of the year and find out for yourself. In the meantime, we at least have another shared memory of the night we tried to speed eat grapes as a family. And we are thankful to start the New Year with friends.
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