A year full of good luck and fortune tops many people’s lists of desires for the new year. Many cultures around the world bring in a new year with traditional foods in hopes of doing just this. Start the new year off right with some of these food traditions.
Many people eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s day to bring prosperity into their homes during the year ahead. Several stories surround this tradition. One legend says that during the Civil War, Union soldiers once raided the Confederate’s food supplies. They left only black-eyed peas behind for the Confederates to eat in the days that followed, which kept them from starving. Another legend dates the tradition back to Ancient Egypt, where people believed eating the humble pea was a way to show their humility to the gods.
After harvesting the cabbage in late fall, people in Germany would often make sauerkraut. The fermentation for sauerkraut takes six to eight weeks, which means it’s ready right around New Year’s Day. Today eating cabbage in the form of sauerkraut or coleslaw on New Year’s day symbolizes good luck for the year ahead. The strands of cabbage in the dishes can symbolize a long life ahead and prosperity.
Indulge one more time before beginning a diet by eating some cake on New Year’s day for good luck in the year ahead. The Greeks eat a cake on the first day of the year known as vasilopita. The cake is sweet and dense and is typically made with almonds. A small coin is baked into the cake. The person who gets the slice with the coin is supposed to have a year filled with fortune.
Those looking to start their new year on a healthier note may want to adopt the Filipino tradition of eating fruit on New Year’s Day. The culture eats twelve different fruits to begin the new year, with each fruit symbolizing one month of the year.
Those who have had a rough year look forward to the beginning of the next with anticipation and joy. Start a new tradition of including food to bring in the new year, and see if it brings good fortune and luck.