New Years Lucky Foods:
- Eating twelve grapes, one for each chime of a clock. The tradition supposedly started in 1909 by grape growers who wanted to cut down on a surplus of grapes. The grape ritual is said to guarantee sweetness and fortune in the year ahead. Each grape follows the month – so your first grape represents January, 2nd February, etc. If you happen to get a sour grape along the way, it is said to predict that month will be a challenging one in 2013. In Portugal & Cuba, celebrants make a special wish for each grape. In Spain, the grape ritual is often followed by parties that last into the next morning, and end with breakfast. Some variation of the grape tradition is found in many other Spanish speaking countries.
- Eating black eyed peas on New Years is said to bring good fortune. Eat green lentils as well, as they are round which is said to represent coins and green for the color of money. There is a mix at many grocery stores for a 15 bean soup that includes both types of beans. In Italy, people often green lentils with sausages (cotechino con lentichhie.) In Puerto Rico they will often make rice and beans (Arroz con gandules.)
In Brazil it’s lentil beans and rice so the tradition of eating beans is throughout several countries. Black eyed peas, corn bread and collard greens is a traditional Southern dish in the U.S. as is Hoppin’ John.
- Greens are said to “Show you the money!” Cooked collard, spinach, cabbage and kale are all said to represent paper money.
- If you eat meat, pick pork over chicken or beef on New Year day, because pigs dig with their snout, it is said to represent forward movement or progress, while chickens scratch backward and cows stand still (we all want to move forward, not backwards or stay in the same place in the New Year!) If you are the cook in the house, considering putting pork or ham in your black eyed peas or lentils for added flavor. Many cultures including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary and Ireland eat pork not only because of the believe of moving forward, but fatty meat is also symbolic of fattening their wallets.
- Fish is a good choice as well since most swim forward, and the scales are believed to symbolize silver. Another theory is that since many fish swim in schools, it’s a sign of abundance. I personally would stay away from bottom dwellers just in case that means something will hold you down in the new year (just a thought.) Pickled herring is a popular dish on New Years. No lobster or crab – remember they walk sideways and backwards. Fish is popular in eastern European and Scandinavian countries. The Japanese also have fish for prosperity and wealth. Also, they have shrimp for a long life and herring roe for fertility.
- Eat noodles for longevity. In China the New Year’s meal always include noodles….remember you need a big pot as you want to boil them whole so they are long. Japan has the same belief and serve long toshikoshi soba noodles on New Years day.
- Grains: Rice and other starches symbolize abundance since they swell when cooked.
- St. Basil’s bread. Known as vasilopita in Greece, St. Basil’s bread plays an important role in Greek New Year’s traditions. The bread itself is sweet, and is baked with a coin hidden in it. At midnight, Greek families turn off the light, and the head of the household slices the vasilopita and shares it among the family. The family member who receives the piece of bread with the coin inside of it is guaranteed to have good luck in the new year. Donuts and fritters are popular in Eastern Europe. In Italy many make struffoli which is a dozen small donut like balls place in a circle and held together by honey, and topped with candied fruit and powdered sugar. Donuts and bagels are in the shape of a “ring” are said to symbolize the year coming full circle.
- Round fruits such as oranges and pomegranates are believed to also symbolize coins and bring a prosperous New Year. Figs are said to be a symbol of fertility.
Anyone making these foods New Years Day?