Lucky New Year’s Food Traditions
At the beginning of the New Year, people around the world celebrate with traditional foods meant to bring luck. Here are six international food traditions for you to try to increase your good fortune in the coming year.
Grapes – In Spain and Mexico, folks eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. Each grape represents one month, so if one is particularly bitter or sweet, look out for that month in the New Year.
Rice Pudding – Swedes and Norwegians celebrate the turn of the year with a heaping bowl of rice pudding. The cook hides one almond in the batch, and it is believed that the person who finds it will have a prosperous year.
Black-Eyed Peas & Collard Greens – Folks in the Southern United States ring in the New Year with a helping of black-eyed peas and collard greens. Both foods symbolize money (peas because of their coin shape and greens because of their color), but black-eyed peas also represent humility because of their association with poverty.
Pork – Roasted pig is eaten in Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Austria because pigs symbolize forward progress, since pigs move headfirst as they forage for food). Swedes eat pig’s feet and Germans eat pork sausages for the same reason. In Italy and the United States, pork represents wealth because of its fattiness.
Noodles – The Japanese eat soba (buckwheat) noodles, which are a symbol of both longevity (because of their length) and good fortune (because goldsmiths used to collect gold dust using buckwheat flowers). These long noodles are cooked unbroken and are called toshikoshi or year-crossing noodles.
Fish – Germans eat herring and carp, while Italians and Danes enjoy cod. Fish is a symbol of good health and a long life.