The Grapes of Luck
Since 1909 Las 12 Uvas de la Suerte (The 12 Grapes of Luck) has been a staple among nuestra gente. The Spanish custom began when grape harvesters came into an unusually large harvest and could not sell all of the fruit. Fruit has always symbolized prosperity. So they made use of their abundance with a tasty countdown to the New Year. As the glimmering ball in New York City’s Times Square starts to drop at 10 seconds to midnight, the clock at Puerta del Sol in Madrid starts chiming 12 seconds to the New Year. Latinos throughout Latin America can be found popping grapes into their mouths to represent every second of the countdown as well one for each month of the year. Grapes never tasted so good!
The Last Mile
If you see a large group of folks walking down your block on the first day of the year, don’t be alarmed. It’s not a city evacuation, it’s a tradition! “We pack our bags like we’re going on a trip, but we’re really just walking around St. Nicholas (Avenue),” says Carmen Gomez who lives in a predominately Dominican neighborhood in New York City. “The entire block is walking around with maletas and even my 7-year-old son packs a little bag. It’s for good luck and for safe traveling in the New Year. Who wouldn’t want that?” For once, it’s baggage that people enjoy carrying knowing that it could open the door to prosperity. Pack light!