Customs, Food Culture, Ingredients

Twelve grapes for the New Year

Green, Red, and Black Grapes for Tonight

As we know, New Years is the end of the year falling on December 31st. It is an important date in Cuzco since people have many beliefs and customs, which we call cabalas, all of which have the purpose of making next year a better one than the one that ends.

One of these is to eat twelv juicy grapes when midnight arrives. You makes a wish for each grape you pop in your mouth. In this way you say goodbye to the old year and get excited for the new. This tradition is widespread, not just in Cuzco but in all of Peru, in other Latin American countries, and in Spain.

On the morning of New Years Eve, the markets are very busy with people wanting to buy grapes and other materials to prepare for the night’s festivities.

Grapes for Sale in the Market
Grapes for Sale in the Market

You can buy various types of grapes to say good bye to the old year such as a green grape (we call it white in Cuzco), a red grape, and a black grape. You can find these in any market of Cuzco, especially the wholesale markets such as the Vino Canchón.

The grapes for Cuzco come from the lowland, coastal valleys of Chincha, Tacna, Ica, Pisco, and Huaral. These are also places which supply wine to the whole country and export it to other countries.

When they get home, after buying grapes, the women wash them and choose from them the ones that are large and juicy, twelve for each family member.

A Stem of Green Grapes
A Stem of Green Grapes

When midnight arrives everyone sits down and counts out their twelve grapes. Once it is time, each tells about their year that is gone and thinks about what they would like to have for the upcoming year.

Once everyone has eaten their grapes they share a hug with the members fo their family with the joy of a new year beginning.

The Variety of Grapes for New Years
The Variety of Grapes for New Years
Mounds of Grapes for Sale
Mounds of Grapes for Sale

 

 

 

 

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