You would truly want the New Year to bring you better luck and pleasure, whether your last year was wonderful or bad for you! We constantly hope for a fantastic year ahead and make various resolutions. We must work hard to reach our goals, but we also unquestionably need amazing luck, so why would we turn off the possibility of acquiring it? According to some antiquated customs and beliefs, some foods are lucky if consumed on New Year’s Day.
Traditions have been associated with New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day throughout time and across many cultures. There are several food superstitions, many of which have Southern roots. According to one account, black-eyed peas were the only food source left after the Yankees destroyed the farmers’ fields; nevertheless, other theories contend that enslaved people consumed the plentiful bean on January 1 to commemorate the day when Emancipation took effect. Black-eyed peas are still eaten on the first day of the year by anyone with even the slightest Southern ancestry, generally with some green (collards, kale, spinach, or cabbage), as the color represents money and a little more of that never hurts.
New Year’s Foods
Certain civilizations and religions have developed elaborate eating customs related to the new year. Traditional meals eaten at the beginning of the year are meant to bring good fortune. Many traditional New Year dishes, such as long noodles or sauerkraut strands, are based on the food’s likeness to money or its look, representing long life.
What Foods should you Eat on New Year’s Day?
Here are the top foods which are eaten on the new year, and you should also try these:
Eating a grape at midnight on New Year’s Eve is thought to make you luckier all year long in Spain and other Spanish-speaking nations. At least a century has passed since the custom of eating 12 lucky grapes, or las doces uvas de la Suerte. This habit may have origins in a bumper grape crop in 1895, in contrast to other culinary traditions influenced by prehistoric rites and ceremonies. The King of Spain is reported to have distributed the grapes for the festival because there were so many that year.
Lentils are related to the New Year in the Czech Republic, Italy, and Brazil, to name a few. Lentils are a traditional New Year’s Day food in the Czech Republic. On New Year’s Eve in Italy, lentils are frequently served shortly after midnight, along with greens, sausage, or roast pork. Lentils are frequently served with rice or in lentil soup for Brazil’s first meal of the year. The custom might have originated in ancient Rome, when jars of lentils were traded on January 1 because the harvest was very valuable. Their resemblance to a coin stands for prosperity and fortune.
Pomegranates have been associated with eternal life and abundance in mythology since ancient Greece. Nowadays, it’s a tradition in Greece to break a pomegranate on the ground in front of a house’s front door on New Year’s Eve. The dishes selected for the new year’s celebrations tend to have a theme of wishing for prosperity, and Greek traditions are no different. The seeds of the pomegranate, which stand for prosperity, are revealed as it splits.
In the United States, cornbread is a traditional New Year’s dish typically served in Southern states with collard greens and black-eyed peas. In the South, a proverb goes, “Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for the color gold.” However, the United States is not the only country that offers cornbread on the first day of the year. In Portugal, a supper of cornmeal and a green soup called Caldo Verde is customary to begin the year.
Rice Cake Soup (Tteokguk)
The Korean New Year, Seollal, takes place on January 28. The meal most frequently consumed at that festival is rice cake soup, also known as tteokguk. The soup can also be garnished with eggs, roasted seaweed, green onions, shredded beef, and rice cakes. One explanation for selecting this delicacy as a New Year’s dish holds that the rice cakes, or tteok, represent purity and a new beginning. Although it was first mentioned in writing in an 18th-century book, the dish has long been utilized in religious ceremonies. Tteokguk consumption on the lunar holiday is so common that you can determine a Korean’s age by asking how many bowls of soup they’ve consumed; in Korea, everyone turns a year older on New Year’s Day.
Chicken and Couscous
Along with most of the globe, Algeria observes New Year’s Day on January 1. Still, weeks later, there is also the Yannayar celebration, which has been celebrated for over 1,000 years. Between January 12 and January 15, the Amazigh (Berber) people celebrate the start of a new farming season. The traditional supper will consist of chicken and a couscous dish with seven different kinds of vegetables on that day.
Japan’s traditional dish for the Lunar New Year is Toshi Koshi soba. The noodles’ moniker, which translates to “from one year to another,” is eaten on the eve of the new year as temple bells sound. While New Year’s Day in Japan may be a time for festivities with loved ones, the eve is typically spent in solitude, enjoying soup, gobbling up soba noodles, which stand for good fortune, and savoring toppings like spring onions, tempura flakes, and fish cakes.
Pork and Sauerkraut
When the Pennsylvania Dutch moved to the United States from Germany, they brought this tradition. Since cabbage produced in the fall took that long to pickle and pigs were customarily butchered soon before the Christmas holiday, the tradition may be a question of time. Pigs were also considered lucky since they moved forward, unlike other animals, which were thought to represent advancement.
Expert on Chinese cuisine Doris Lum claims that one of the many reasons fish has been a staple food for good luck is that the Chinese word for “fish” has a pronunciation similar to the term for abundance. In “Good Luck Life,” Rosemary Gong’s book on Chinese holidays also mentions that serving the fish with the head and tail on will guarantee a successful year from beginning to end.
What Foods to Avoid on New Year?
There are some foods that many people believe you should avoid, just as there are some lucky foods you should eat. Here are some of them:
Although some people believe lobster to be a delicacy, it should be avoided on New Year’s Day. Because a lobster swims backward, it’s believed that this causes people to reflect on the previous year. Nobody wants to look back after a certain number of years. Additionally, because they migrate sideways, crabs shouldn’t be eaten. On the New Year, staying away from any of these creatures is recommended, whether they are moving backward, sideways, or still.
It is advised to stay away from chicken wings on January 1, even if you enjoy them while watching a game. Some individuals believe that chicken wings will send good fortune flying. Additionally, some believe that chicken should be avoided since hens plow the ground in search of food. Avoid chicken on January 1 if you don’t want to need assistance.
Eggs and White Food
Some individuals believe that cracking an egg on the first day of the year can be unlucky, although the veracity of these bad luck meals is disputed. White foods were supposed to represent death in some Chinese proverbs. It’s not clear if eating an egg sandwich that has already been prepared counts as well. A smart strategy to establish new, wholesome eating habits is perhaps to avoid white foods. It can signal the beginning of a New Year’s resolution.
A hole in a sliced loaf was sometimes thought to represent a coffin and to herald someone’s impending death. Nothing stops a Christmas dinner like a terrible omen, so we’re happy this one is over.
Some Food Superstitions to be Aware of
Here are some food superstitions to be aware of them:
Don’t Scrape your Plate Clean
Spilled Salt Invites the Devil
According to How Stuff Works, salt is associated with the superstition that it would bring bad luck since it might cause arguments and break up friendships, bring bad luck to the person who spilled it, and, in more extreme cases, “call the devil to execute terrible deeds.” Even if you attempt to avoid it, salt is an essential component of all the food we eat, so you can’t avoid it (well, you can, but seriously, salt your food). Be careful or, as many people do, take a small amount of the spilled salt and throw it over your left shoulder for good measure if you want to ensure that you don’t have any bad luck in the new year, regardless of whether you did it on purpose or not.
Keep Bananas Un-Cut
Why are bananas so nasty when they have never caused you any harm? Because you aren’t supposed to cut fruit on New Year’s Day, you must avoid it. This superstition exists all year but could cause even greater anxieties during the new year. People think cutting them will bring bad fortune, and if you happen to be a fisherman, taking them on a boat can portend a terrible catch or getting lost at sea.
Using Chopsticks could be your Funeral
Chopsticks serve as a symbol for many Asian nations. Although this superstition has nothing to do with food, it is nonetheless significant because it is all about respect. In China and Japan, your luck will depend on where you place your chopsticks. In China, using chopsticks of different lengths is also considered unlucky since it “mimics incense used to commemorate the dead.” In Japan, this practice is known as tsukitate-Bashi, remindings people of funerals.
The beginning of a new year frequently causes even skeptics to become superstitious, much like final examinations and important sporting events. It is a day that is rich in tradition and symbolic ceremony all across the world. The most enduring New Year’s customs around the globe often involve food, with particular dishes representing the eater’s aspirations for the future.