The New Year is fast approaching, which means it’s time to do some last-minute shopping, plan meals to prepare at your holiday dinner party, decide which champagne to drink on New Year’s Eve, and set some intentions for the year ahead.
Regardless of what kind of year you’ve had, whether it’s been a no-brainer or one filled with trials, you deserve some good luck and prosperity in the new year. In fact, it’s this wish for luck and good fortune at the turn of the year that has been the inspiration behind so many New Year’s culinary traditions. Have you ever heard of black eyed peas and lucky collard greens? How about a bowl of lentils or a pork chop?
There are many different New Year traditions that have been passed down through generations and across cultures, all of which promote good luck and fortune in the coming year. Read on to see if you recognize any, and don’t hesitate to try a few this year so 2023 can be your luckiest year yet.
Eat black-eyed peas and kale
Eating black-eyed peas with cabbage is one of the most classic and traditional superstitions of New York in the southern United States. According to Southern lifethis meal is also known as Hoppin’ John, Cowboy Caviar or Peas with Ham.
Blackeye peas were first brought to the United States during the slave trade and eaten by enslaved Africans in the southern United States, according to the New York Times. On the other hand, cabbages are said to have roots in northern Europe. Greens are meant to bring financial prosperity in the year ahead, while peas promote abundance and good health in the new year.
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Eat pork, not chicken
Fans of pork chops, pulled pork sandwiches and pork sausage will rejoice when they learn that this delicious meat is said to bring good luck in the New Year. According to TODAY, this has to do with how pigs behave. Pigs often bury their snouts in the dirt and lunge forward, so eating pork is said to symbolize forward and onward movement towards a successful year.
Conversely, chickens are known to scratch backwards, which some take as a symbol of getting stuck or moving backwards in your life. If you’re feeling superstitious this year, maybe skip the poultry and go for the pork.
Enjoy some soba noodles
According to Japan timeEating soba noodles, or toshikoshi, on New Year’s Eve is a common Japanese tradition to bring luck, fortune, happiness, and wealth in the year ahead. This is especially fitting since toshikoshi loosely translates as “to leap” or “to move forward from the year behind, to the year ahead.” A delicious meal and good luck – what more could you ask for?
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Stock your pantry
Another tradition that comes from the American South is to start the new year with a stocked pantry and refrigerator to bring abundance into the coming year. According to Southern life, this superstition most likely stemmed from the fact that the south has always been the home of farming and agriculture. On a practical level, it’s also nice to enter the new year with fresh foods on hand.
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Eating lentils during the New Year’s holiday is said to bring wealth and potential prosperity, according to the History Channel. Why, you might ask? Because lentils are round and shaped like a coin. You can prepare your lentils however you like, because either way, you’ll be dining with a (metaphorical) bowl of cash. The History Channel also mentions that lentils are classically enjoyed with pork or pork sausage, which is also said to bring good luck in the New Year.
Don’t take out the trash
This tradition can lead to a smelly kitchen, so it’s up to you to stick with it or not. A common superstition around New York City is not to take anything out between midnight on New Year’s and January 2, to avoid throwing away your lucky charms and good vibes. Let’s just hope your lucky charms don’t have a strong smell.
Eat 12 grapes at midnight
This tradition has its origins in Spain, but many people in the United States also practice it. According to Spanish tradition, if you eat 12 green grapes when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, then it will bring you good luck for the year to come. This tradition likely began with the upper class in Madrid, and was then adopted by lower-class people as a way to mock the upper class, according to NPR.
Tradition says to pop a grape in your mouth with each toll of the bell at midnight, and if you finish all 12 before the bell is over, you’ll have good luck. However, since most of us probably aren’t near an old cathedral in New York and are instead watching the ball drop from the comfort of our living room, eating the 12 grapes at your own pace is fine.