Stories and Folklore
In a custom shared with pretty much everyone in Spain, we eat 12 grapes in the seconds before the new year for good luck.
For this reason, in calling relatives to wish them a new year, we always start with the same question. Did you eat your grapes?
Anyone who fails to eat the grapes and is foolish enough to share this failure on their part should expect little if any sympathy is misfortune visits upon them during the new year. "Well, they didn't eat their grapes", is what will be whispered about.
Eat Twelve Grapes
Its unknown as to how many if any other people in Spain much less Alhama share this somewhat unique superstition. Yet, on countless occassions I have heard my parents warn that allowing live crickets to enter the house will bring death.
Given the fact that everyone ultimately dies, its not a surprise that this superstition always comes true because there is no definite deadline for when death arrives due to the crickets, it can even be years.
The end result is that no one admits having had a live cricket enter one's house less they be accused 20 years later of helping to bring about the death of someone in the family.
I tried to research this belief only to find some unfortunately believe crickets bring not death but good luck. So apparently this superstitution linking crickets to death is very limited, perhaps only to our family.
Crickets in the House
Not as lethal as a live cricket, a live fish will bring sickness to a person in that household.
Unlike the cricket however, there is a story cited to support this superstition. While I have no first hand knowledge, supposedly Manuel Leclercq was very ill with the "deadly" chickenpox visus.
Librada paid her grandson a visit only to discover the presence of a live goldfish being kept in the house.
Librada putting the health of her grandson first, flushed the fish. As the story goes, her grandson Manuel quickly recovered. Now some might argue that it is only goldfish and not all live fish that bring sickness and Librada's son Christopher so believed. Others would respond that the risk is too great and no live fish should be kept in the house.
Still others point to the fact that many of the grandchildren ultimately survived the chickenpox without having to flush any goldfish down a toilet. In fact, no Lopez is ever known to have died from chickenpox. Yet who can disprove the notion that live fish can bring on and prolong sickness?