Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Grapes of Luck

Not everyone counts down from ten. Spaniards start the New Year count at twelve, and accompany each number with a grape, swallowed rapidly. This sounds like some Deep Spain, pre-Christian ritual, but in fact, its the 20th century invention of a bunch of grape farmers who found themselves with too much product on their hands. The solution? Convince everyone that shoving twelve pieces of fruit into their mouths in 12 seconds will bring them a year's worth of good luck.

Of course, Spanish grapes tend to be on the large side, and they invariably have seeds, which means that one's good fortune in 2007 could easily be brought to an abrupt end by choking. But here again, some enterprising Spaniard has found a solution: seedless, peeled grapes in a handy little can. Twelve in each, of course, though two cans come to a pack, the better for romance.

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