Customs, Food Culture

Twelve Grapes and Twelve Wishes at Midnight

Green Grapes at MIdnight
Green Grapes at Midnight

This last day of the year will be celebrated in thousands of Peruvian homes. The clock will strike twelve midnight and, before toasting the New Year, the parents, children, uncles and aunts, and grandparents will serve themselves twelve grapes each. One by one they will eat them while making their wishes for the new year.

This is a tradition, a cábala (from kabbalah), and a rite, however you wish to name it, enjoying twelve grapes in honor of the new year. It is true that not just in Peru but in other countries this is a custom. The grapes are eaten to scare away bad luck and to make twelve wishes, one for each of the grapes. You make them with full confidence so that the things you desire will appear in the course of the twelve, long months of the new year.

Before night, people go out and buy the grapes so that they can enjoy them with their whole family. They go to diverse markets and super markets in search of this delicious fruit. It stays fresh and sweet, ready to sweeten midnight and people’s lives.

The grape that is most consumed at this time is the green grape. It will be found on the tables and in the homes of almost all the people of Cusco tonight. It illuminates with its beautiful color and provokes desire in who ever sees it. For this date the price of grapes goes up. Normally the kilo of grapes runs between 5 and 6 soles, but for New Years it will cost between 7 and 8.

With a loud voice, the fruit vendors offer their grapes from their carts and tricycles with which they go through the streets of the different neighborhoods of the city. They spend their day selling this fruit and allow other people to save some time.

It is very important to eat the twelve grapes and also to perform some other cábalas since these help us to have strength and optimism as we move into the future. Circumstances change and they will give us new opportunities in this coming new year.

 

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