New Year's Day Food Traditions

Dec 29, 2021 at 04:46 pm by Cynthialynn Jones


New Year's Eve focuses on parties and kissing your sweetheart at midnight to reign in the New year.  I wrote a story about five-teen local parties to attend, many being free.  However, New Year’s Day in many cultures is a celebration of food and family generations in the making. Many cultures traditionally eat certain foods to bring spirituality, focus, prosperity, calmness, and in general to start the New Year off right.

Below are a few examples of food and what consuming these foods mean to others.  These may also be a few of your favorites, or maybe you have a few you would like to share with me.

Common American dishes include black-eyed peas, fish, pork, and cornbread. These traditional foods are as multicultural as our county. Some cultures feel greens are eaten on New Year’s Eve because they resemble paper money, while beans symbolize coins.  There is also an old tale about beans and lentils soaking up liquor so those who imbibe will not suffer consequences.

While this all may sound a little silly, if invited, I would come on over and try your traditions just to enjoy your company, maybe this is how all these traditions began, the need for company.

Pork - Pork and pigs repersents prosperity and progress.

Greens and Cabbage – Your mom probably always told you to eat your greens.  Well, greens may look like money to some, so eating your green may make you proper in the New Year.

Black Eyed Peas and Lentils – If Greens are the paper money vegetable, then legumes like black eyed peas are the coins that bring good luck and prosperity.

Grapes – In Spain eating twelve grapes within the first twelve seconds of the New Year gives twelve months of health and happiness.  Does a glass of wine count?

Long Noodles – The longer the noodle, the longer the life.

Cornbread – In our southern states, cornbread symbolized gold.  So, eat on up and maybe you will find a little gold down the road.

Whole Fish – Eating fish symbolized prosperity because fish travel in schools and the scales resemble coins.  Also, fish is good for us, so eat more.

Circle-Shaped Foods – Circular foods like donuts bring the mean of coming full circle.  I think Duncan Donuts and Krispy Cream had something to do with this one.

Pretzels – Warm and fresh a pretzel is supposed to bring good luck.  Why, who cares, they are delicious.

Cake – There is always time for cake, but cake on New Years Day is supposed to symbolize abundance.

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