New Year’s Food Traditions

Do you have a food you simply have to eat as part of a New Year’s tradition – something that will bring your family luck, happiness, and prosperity for the coming year? Because America is such a hodge podge of ethic groups, each having their own traditions, you would be amazed at some of the foods traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

Americans who follow the Buddhist faith often eat noodles at the stroke of midnight of New Year’s Eve. The Chinese customarily eat dumplings, chicken and fish as a part of their New Year’s Eve dinner. Many Hispanic cultures eat twelve grapes at midnight, one for each month of the year, as good luck. People of German or Polish decent often eat herring as good luck for the coming year, but in Denmark, they eat boiled cod. Many Filipino families believe that by having a table full of food on New Year’s Day, they will be blessed with an abundance of food throughout the coming year. The Argentines have a late dinner, often around 11:00 pm, and then wait for midnight, the entrance of the New Year.

On New Year’s Day, a round fritter made of raisins and apples is often eaten in Holland. It is believed by many cultures that a food that is shaped like a ring will bring things full circle, thus being good luck.

Many families in the US follow traditions brought by their ancestor’s from other countries, but many have created their own traditions. The Pennsylvania Dutch eat sauerkraut and pork as their New Year’s Day tradition. If you are from a Southern state, you know it is necessary to eat a green leafy vegetable such as cabbage, collard greens, mustard greens, kale or spinach. That tradition started in hopes of bringing money (often referred to as cabbage or green) into the home. Southern homes also have black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. For a meat to go with this dish, you can eat pork (hog jawls or ham), as it is seen as a sign of prosperity. A South Carolina New Year’s recipe that uses black-eyed peas is Hoppin’ John. This dish contains blackeyed peas, bacon, ham, onions, green and red bellpepper, celery, rice, and spices like garlic, paprika, basil and thyme.

No matter what tradition you follow, or even if you create your own family tradition, New Year’s is a fun time to reflect on the past year as well as look forward to the New Year and there is no better way to do that than with family, good friends, and good food!

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Libby Pelham

About Libby Pelham

I have always loved to write and gives me the opportunity to share my passion for writing with others. I work full-time as a web developer at UTHSC and most of my other time is spent with my son (born 2004). I love everything pop culture, but also enjoy writing about green living (it has opened my eyes to many things!) and health (got to worry about that as you get older!).