Animal Crossing includes the Spanish tradition of the 12 grapes, and Nintendo couldn’t believe it!.
Animal Crossing introduces elements and traditions from around the world, such as the 12 grapes for New Year’s Eve, a Spanish custom … that Iwata couldn’t believe when he met her!
The Animal Crossing series, despite being set in a totally fantastic world with anthropomorphic animals, takes inspiration from cultures around the world. And precisely, from Spain they have taken the tradition of eat the 12 grapes on New Year’s Eve, a custom that originated in Madrid at the end of the 19th century.
The Animal Crossing series started out on the Nintendo 64 as a very Japanese taste, but it was Animal Crossing Wild World, the Nintendo DS installment, that was the most successful. Suspecting the potential of the game in the international market, the developers at Nintendo researched celebrations and traditions from around the world to include in the game, so that players perceive a greater connection to the real world.
This is how they discovered that 12 grapes are eaten in Spain, each one symbolizing a month of good luck for the coming year. And when Satoru Iwata, the long-awaited former president of Nintendo, found out about this Spanish tradition, he could not believe it, as Nintendatos has discovered on Twitter.
This is how Iwata reacted in an interview “Iwata Asks” published in December 2012, with Aya Kyogoku and Isao Moro, directors of several games in the series:
- Kyogoku: That’s right. At the end of the year we have special wheat noodles for dinner, but players from outside of Japan do not have that custom.
- Iwata: Very true! (Laughs)
- Kyogoku: We study what is done in different places at the end of the year and we also ask our staff in other countries. In some places they toast with champagne and in others they eat twelve grapes.
- Iwata: Really? Are there people who celebrate the end of the year by eating twelve grapes? I had no idea! (Laughs)
- Kyogoku: Well yes. In Spain, twelve grapes are eaten at midnight, just before the start of the new year.
- Iwata: Really?
- Moro: Our staff in Europe asked us to include those twelve grapes as an object. (Laughs)
- Kyogoku: The fact is that we had never seen how it is made, so we did not know whether to serve them on a plate, in a bowl … We did not even know what kind of grapes they were! We made a draft …
- Moro: We were working with our staff in Spain until we got their approval. (Laughs)
- Iwata: So you learned things that only people with the most knowledge about foreign cultures know, right?
- Kyogoku: Yes. In this game we include customs from foreign markets, as well as including customs in the Japanese version that only a Japanese could understand, such as throwing soybeans at Setsubun and eating a special sushi roll looking in a certain direction. to attract good luck.
🍇 The surprise of the Animal Crossing developers to discover that in Spain twelve grapes are taken on New Year’s Eve… 👇 # AnimalCrossing pic.twitter.com/navVQ0jrl0
– Nintendatos (@Nintendatos) December 31, 2020
The Plate with twelve grapes is one of the special objects that can be purchased in Animal Crossing New Horizons to celebrate New Year’s Eve, and in the game itself they indicate its origin as a tradition of Spain.
Other local traditions are the New Year’s Soup (Omisoka) from Japan, with long and easy-to-cut noodles “because they symbolize longevity and promote cutting off the misfortunes of the year that ends”; and the German Berliners, in addition to the world tradition of jumping sparkling apple juice with cava.
Remember that Animal Crossing New Horizons also celebrates New Years Eve, and today you will find many special things in the square. Here we leave you with our event guide!