Many of our favorite holiday traditions revolve around food and eating. New Year's is certainly no exception. Some will funk up their homes with the smell of sauerkraut while others get busy baking cornbread all in hopes of having a prosperous New Year. But why do we eat certain foods on New Year's Day and not others? Keep reading to find out!
WHAT TO EAT FOR A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR
We eat pork to inspire progress in the coming year. Unlike chickens that scratch backward, pigs root forward with their nose when foraging for food. This movement is supposed to signify progress, moving forward and good luck. While pork is the choice of many, others eat fish on New Year's Day as it symbolizes abundance.
The people of Spain and Mexico race to eat 12 grapes as quickly as possible at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. Why? It is believed that each grape will bring luck for every month of the coming year. While grapes are said to bring luck, pomegranates are believed to bring fertility, life and abundance and oranges (especially when served with honey) are supposed to bring good fortune, wealth and gold.
Often paired with pork, cabbage is supposed to bring money in the new year and lentils are eaten for good luck. When eaten together, black-eyed peas, greens and cornbread are said to bring pennies, dollars and gold. Rice is believed to bring fertility and wealth to those who eat it and super long noodles are the key to long life. For dessert, it is recommended that round cakes and bundt cakes be eaten to ensure a full circle of life.
Germans believe in keeping leftovers foods available past midnight to ward off bad luck.
FOODS TO AVOID ON NEW YEAR'S DAY
Avoid eating poultry or any other type of fowl on New Year's Day. It is believed that eating birds will allow your good luck to fly away. Also, as previously mentioned, they scratch backward in the dirt when foraging for food which signifies that you are dwelling in the past. Crustaceans, such as lobster, crab and shrimp, should also be avoided because they are sideways moving creatures, not forward progressing ones. Bottom feeding fish should not be eaten as they are scavengers and represent bad luck, struggle and difficulty in making ends meet.
The Chinese believe the color white symbolizes death, therefor white-colored foods should be avoided on New Year's Day. They also believe that eating short noodles (noodles that are cut or broken) will shorten one's life.
On a related note, don't gift someone with a knife or pass a knife to someone on New Year's Day. It represents cutting ties with them.
If you would like to work some of these food traditions into your New Year's celebrations, we recommend the following recipes: