Each time the New Year rolls around, cultures around the world celebrate with a traditional feast of foods thought to bring good luck and fortune in the New Year. Here are 10 foods that you should eat on the eve of the new year to ensure that 2014 is the best year yet!
In China and Japan as well as many other major Asian countries it is customary to eat long noodles on New Year's Day. They believe that the length of the noodle signifies longevity and full life in the year to come. Usually the noodles are prepared in a stir-fry or in soup and are devoured by children and adults alike.
In countries like Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary and Austria it is common to consume pork during the New Year because pigs symbolize progress and development. This is because these animals supposedly never move backward, or because in their feeding habits, pigs push their snouts forward along the ground looking for food.
In Chinese, the word for 'fish' sounds similar to the word for 'abundance', making fish a good luck food for the new year in that culture. It is important, however that the head and tail be served intact to ensure a good new year from start to finish.
In Middle Eastern cultures, pomegranates signify prosperity and fertility, but also good luck and fortune. In Turkey, pomegranates are consumed on the New Year because they believe that the red represents the human heart, the medicinal properties of the fruit represent health, and their many round seeds represent prosperity. If these are things you wish for yourself or others in the New Year, pick up some delicious tart pomegranates.
This popular New Year's treat in Italy is called Cotechino con Lenticchie, or green lentils with sausage. It is consumed for the New Year due to lentil's green color and coin-like appearance, similar to the reason people in the Americas eat greens. It is also believed that when the lentils are cooked and soaked in water they become plump, which means the individual will experience a growth in wealth.
In Germany, Poland and Scandinavia it is believed that eating herring at the stroke of midnight is the key to a year of bounty. This is because herring are present in abundance throughout Western Europe and their silvery color is similar to the color of coins, a good omen for future fortune.
Black Eyed Peas
In the southern United States, it is common to serve black eyed peas along with collard greens for the New Year. Black eyed peas are considered good luck because of their penny-like appearance and abundance. One of the more traditional dishes made with black eyed peas is called Hoppin' John, or a dish of peas and rice. The day after New Year's Day, the leftover Hoppin' John becomes Skippin' Jenny to demonstrate frugality and promote prosperity in the New Year.
Another southern favorite, this sweet and delicious treat is eaten because its color resembles gold. For an extra lucky loaf of cornbread, some chefs add corn kernels to symbolize gold nuggets.