New Year’s Eve and Day bring traditions of the food variety. People all over the world eat different food to bring luck for the next year or just ring in the New Year. On New Year’s Eve, people in Chili eat lentils when midnight arrives to give them prosperity for the New Year. Russia’s edible custom is to write a wish for the following year, burn it, place the ashes in a glass of champagne and drink it before the New Year begins. Russians believe that the wish will come true if they drink it before midnight. Those in Spain eat 12 grapes before the clock strikes midnight to have good luck the next year.
People in Germany, Scandinavia and Poland eat pickled herring on New Year’s Eve to bring themselves abundance in the new year. Also, the silver color of the fish’s scales represent coins, which is an omen of fortune for the future. Those in the American South eat black-eyed peas. People see these peas as coins and collard greens as folded money. Both foods represent prosperity in the new year. The peas are in a dish called Hoppin’ John and when people consume the dish the day after New Years Day it’s called Skippin’ Jenny. The leftovers bring prosperity as well as frugality in the coming year.
A second Southern dish, cornbread, is also eaten on New Year’s because its color represents gold. Some people also add extra corn kernals to represent gold nuggets, which bring good luck. An inedible tradition in Ireland that also brings good luck is for people to bang bread against doors and walls of their houses to chase away bad spirits as well as bad luck. The bread tradition also brings in good spirits. Another lentil tradition is found in the Italian dish Cotechino con Lenticchie or green lentils with sausage. The dish is believed to bring wealth because of its green color as well as coin-like shape. When the lentils are cooking, they plump up, which represents growing prosperity.
Food is very important in China and Japan around New Year’s. People in China eat long foods such as long noodles and long beans to bring them a long life. They also consume whole fish to bring them prosperity. In Japan, their food comes from one food group: Osechi Ryori. Food in this food group includes picked as well as stewed items that people can eat cold because cooking is not allowed on holidays.
Those in Turkey have an edible tradition where they eat pomegranates for good luck. The color red represents the human heart stands for fertility and life. The seeds represent prosperity and its medical properties stand for health. In Germany, people consume sauerkraut for good luck and the more strands a person has the more luck they will have.
New Year’s Day and Eve come with traditions that bring luck and prosperity for the coming year. There is two edible items people should avoid adding to their New Years traditions: lobster and chicken. People should not eat lobster because since these animals move backwards it could lead to set backs for those in the coming year. People need to avoid chicken because the bird moves backwards, which causes people to think about the past.
By Jordan Bonte
International Business Times
Main Photo Courtesy of Selena NBH – Flikr License
Middle Photo Courtesy of Chany Crystal – Flikr License
Feature Photo Courtesy of Bart Everson – Flikr License