There is a popular saying in the south about what to eat for fortune in the New Year; however the list of foods that offer good luck on New Year’s Day long surpasses the beloved southern saying. In the south many people say: “Eat peas for pennies, greens for green money and cornbread for gold”.
Our list begins with black-eyed peas. Any legume serves as a symbol of good luck for the new year, but black-eyed peas are the bean of choice for people in the southern U.S. This tradition’s origins come from the Civil War days. Vicksburg, a town in Virginia, was thought to be devoid of food during the battles until the people there found the peas. The legume has been considered lucky among Southerners ever since. It is tradition to eat 365 black eyed peas; one for each day of the year.
Our next good luck food is greens. Eating green, leafy vegetables is a good idea year-round, but on January 1, it may bring you more than good health. Because the color and shape of certain greens is similar to money, many consume vegetables like kale, chard, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens and even cabbage in the hopes of a wealthier new year.
Cornbread is our next food for fortune. Because of the golden rich color of baked cornbread, it is said to bring the eater gold in the New Year. It is advised to pick a recipe with very little sugar or flour.
Moving passes the original three foods, pork is another food tradition for New Year’s Day. Pigs can be symbols of financial success and progress in life for two reasons. First, because they’re rich in fat, so they’re seen as signs of abundance. Secondly, they tend to move forward when scavenging for food, unlike birds and lobsters, both of which are considered unlucky to eat on New Year’s Day. Therefore, the pig is a frequent star at New Year’s feasts.
Did you know noodles are a traditional good luck food? The longer the noodle, the longer the life—so goes the belief in Japan, where they eat soba (buckwheat) noodles in soup during their New Year’s parties to ensure a healthy lifespan. However, breaking the noodles while eating them is bad luck, so if you’re making them for your celebration, be sure to slurp them up instead of biting off smaller pieces.
Grapes also hold a spot in the lineup for good fortune foods on New Year’s Day. Here in America., we traditionally toast the new year with cocktails and party poppers. In countries like Spain, Portugal, Mexico, and Peru, citizens eat twelve grapes when the clock strikes twelve instead (twelve representing the months in the new year).