Ringing in the new year isn’t always just about the bubbly - food can be part of the tradition as well. Check out some of the menu items different cultures use to start off the year full of luck and good fortune:
• Hoppin’ John: There’s a Southern saying “peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold,” and Hoppin’ John takes care of most of these. It’s a dish made of black-eyed peas stewed with spices and a ham hock and recipes for it date back to the 1840s. Serve it over a bed of rice with collard greens on the side and a slice of cornbread and you have all of the luck you need in one meal.
• Pork: Many cultures around the world eat pork on New Year’s Day because of how pigs root forward into the mud instead of going backwards - symbolizing the progress you want to have in the new year.
• Grapes: In Spain, it’s customary to eat twelve grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve - one grape for luck in every month of the upcoming year.
• Noodles: Asian cultures serve dishes that include long noodles on New Year’s Day. Their length is thought to symbolize longevity and prosperity and they’re more effective if you can prepare and eat the noodles without breaking them.
• Pomegranate: In Greece, a pomegranate is hung above your front door. At midnight it’s smashed against the door and the more seeds fall out, the more luck and fertility you’ll have in the new year.
• Lentils: Italian cultures use lentils to ring in the new year, as they’re shaped like coins and thought to bring about prosperity for the future.
• Herring: Many Scandinavian countries consider herring a sign of good fortune and bounty and traditionally eat a slice of pickled herring at the stroke of midnight. Their silvery color is thought to symbolize money.