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  HOME | Arts & Entertainment

Madrid Stages New Year’s Mock Party with Spanish Grape-Eating Tradition

MADRID – Citizens in Madrid staged a mock New Year’s Eve practice run at noon on Monday, tucking into grapes to the sound of 12 strokes, an age-old tradition people enjoy across the country.

Every year in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol in the city center, hoards of people gather to take part in a New Year’s Eve rehearsal that sees young and old alike clumsily attempting to eat 12 grapes with every stroke the main clock marks in the 19th-century square.

The tradition dates back to at least 1895 and was established more widely by 1909 after a particularly prolific grape harvest led vine growers to promote the tradition in an attempt to sell the large amounts of fruit they had produced.

For the first time, this year the clock in Sol is set to ring in 2019 twice: once at midnight and a second time at 1:00 am for the people of the Canary Islands who celebrate the New Year one hour later.

 

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