12 Grapes, 12 Wishes: Understanding Costa Rica’s New Year Good Luck Ritual
In Costa Rica, the grape is associated with good luck, especially during New Year’s Eve celebrations. The tradition is influenced by Spanish customs and is similar to practices found in other Latin American countries. As the clock strikes midnight to usher in the New Year, people eat 12 grapes, one at each stroke of the clock. Each grape is supposed to represent good luck for each month of the upcoming year.
The practice is not just about gobbling down a dozen grapes as quickly as possible; it’s a moment for reflection and aspiration. As each grape is eaten, people make a wish or set an intention for the corresponding month. For families, this can be a communal experience where loved ones gather around to partake in the tradition, sharing their hopes and dreams for the future.
The grape’s role as a symbol of good luck in Costa Rica can be attributed to its association with abundance and prosperity. Grapes grow in clusters, and their plentiful nature makes them an ideal representation of abundance in many aspects of life, such as health, wealth, and happiness.
Interestingly, some people also pay attention to the taste of each grape as they eat them. A sweet grape indicates a good month ahead, while a sour one may suggest challenges.
So, the next time you’re in Costa Rica for New Year’s Eve, don’t be surprised if you see people eagerly waiting for midnight with a handful of grapes. It’s not just a fruity snack; it’s a tradition steeped in symbolism and shared hopes for a prosperous future.