Why are TikTok users eating 12 grapes and wearing red underwear on New Year’s Eve?
The traditions are meant to bring luck in the new year and have their origins around the world
One of TikTok’s greatest tendencies is to “create” trends that already exist — or at least viralize them for the larger social media audience that might not know about them.
As New Year’s Eve approaches, the social media giant has done just that with the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes as the clock chimes at midnight.
As is habit on TikTok, however, some users have combined the tradition with others, hoping for luck in certain areas of their lives.
Where did the 12 grapes tradition originate?
The practice of eating 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight is a Spanish holiday tradition meant to bring luck in the new year. According to NPR, you must finish all of the grapes before the final bell’s toll (or clock’s chime) for it to work.
NPR reports the tradition began in Spain in the 1880s. Old newspapers reveal that the bourgeoisie in Madrid imitated the French by eating grapes and drinking champagne on New Year’s Eve.
Soon, the act caught on in greater Madrid society and thus the lucky tradition as we know it was born.
A common version of the custom seen on TikTok sees users eating the 12 grapes under a table, which is supposed to bring romantic luck, per the Arizona Republic. This twist has its origins in Peru.
What are some other twists on the tradition?
Besides eating grapes under the table for romantic prosperity, people are looking to maximize their potential for luck in 2023 by doing as many of the traditions as possible.
TikTok users have picked up on numerous other New Year’s traditions from around the world and are attempting to try them all this year.
One such trend is the wearing of red underwear, which originated in Italy, per the New York Post. Accounts vary on the reasoning behind this tradition, but it is believed that red underwear will bring either fertility or luck in the new year.
Another tradition users have latched onto is running around outside with a suitcase. According to PopSugar, this Latin American custom is supposed to bring a year of travel and adventure.
One stateside tradition some users have picked up on is eating black-eyed peas. This custom began in the South before the Civil War and is meant to bring luck, per Southern Living.
Why is it trending on TikTok?
Once an idea goes viral on social media, the typical reaction of other users is to emulate it and join in on the fun, which is exactly what’s happening with this trend.
While it’s an innocuous enough trend, some might say that it’s getting out of hand regarding the impossibly long list of customs for users to complete on New Year’s Eve.
One TikTok user, groovygrampa21, humorously cites the mounting pressure to complete every activity to receive good fortune, asking other users how they plan on doing it.
At the end of the day, the trend cycle will refresh in the new year and people probably won’t think to chalk any luck up to the customs they took part in on New Year’s Eve. Some people, though, may walk away with a new tradition and cultural knowledge.