On New Years many of us make resolutions to improve our lives and become better individuals. Most of us want to forget the past and think about a better future, but good things to keep from the past are family traditions. A custom in my family is eating 12 grapes at midnight to bring good fortune in the New Year. Some alicantese vine growers began this tradition in Spain to sell more grapes after a very good harvest. The tradition of eating 12 grapes was first celebrated at Puerta Del Sol Tower in Madrid Spain, a clock tower that is similar to the Broad Street Station Tower in Newark, New Jersey. As the Puerta Del Sol clock tower chimed 12 times on New Years Eve, each person tried to eat one grape with each strike of the clock. According to the custom, the person who eats all 12 grapes would have a lucky year. The tradition of eating 12 grapes was also believed to drive away witches and evil.
Eating 12 grapes at midnight on New Years is also a custom in the Philippines and other Latin American countries. Some Hispanics in the United States follow this tradition including some from Newark, New Jersey where there is a large Hispanic population.
When the clock strikes midnight to ring in the new year, do look forward to all the new experiences that you will have, but do not forget all the cultural traditions that make you who you are.