When it comes to festive holidays, Christmas tends to reign supreme. Between the gifts and glitz and the delicious dinner spreads, it’s a difficult celebration to compete with. New Year’s Eve, however, is a great contender for the spot of ‘fave holiday’. Not only is it the final celebration of the year, but it’s also a moment to reflect while welcoming a new beginning. And even though it might present the perfect opportunity to dress up and boogie down, it’s also a chance to celebrate a few traditions as well.
As we get ready to ring in the new year, we’d like to delve into culinary heritage from across the world and discover the deep, layered meanings behind some of the world’s most ancient food traditions. Here are 10 different New Year’s Eve foods that you can eat for wealth, health and good luck going into 2022.
When the clock strikes midnight, people across Mexico and Spain eat a grape for each month of the upcoming calendar. This tradition is believed to bring about luck for the year ahead, while any sour grapes indicate months that may be challenging within the year.
Black Eyed Peas, Greens and Cornbread
These three dishes are meant to be eaten as part of the same meal to bring about wealth for the upcoming year. In the Southern parts of the United States, black eyed peas are believed to bring pennies, while greens bring dollars and cornbread brings gold, respectively.
Pomegranate seeds have long been seen as a symbol of fertility and abundance. In Greece, the whole fruit is thrown across the floor to release a sea of seeds that indicate fertility, life and abundance. If you’re not up for the clean up that follows that mess, you might want to follow this tutorial on how to cut a pomegranate.
While fish may symbolise abundance around the world, the way it is eaten varies between countries. In Asia, people feast on whole fish around the Lunar New Year, while people across Europe sink their teeth into carp, herring and cod. Fish are believed to be lucky because their scales resemble coins, while their swimming patterns symbolise progress and moving forward through the upcoming year.
Super long noodles are thought to represent long life and although it may be frowned upon at other times, slurping up the dish is encouraged on this holiday. Longevity is said to be in the length of the noodle so more luck is received if you manage to eat the length of the noodle without breaking it.
Ring-shaped cakes, like Bundt cakes, are a symbol of coming full circle, making them a perfect New Year’s Eve food. Stemming from the Greeks, this tradition sees hidden trinkets being baked into the cake, bestowing luck upon the lucky recipient who finds a trinket in their slice.
Oranges and honey
In Asian cultures it is believed that eating oranges and honey on New Year’s Eve will bring good fortune, wealth and money. Having an orange with the stem and leaf attached is also believed to bring a long life and fertility.
Round like a coin, lentils are said to bring about good luck for the New Year and beyond. This ancient tradition comes from the Romans, who believed that the lentils would turn into gold coins.
According to German and Eastern European superstition, ringing in the New Year with a plate of sauerkraut represents wealth for the coming year. It is believed that eating this traditional New Year’s Eve food will increase your bankroll for the year to come.
From Cuba to Austria, pork is a common feature on many New Year’s Eve menus. This is because pigs are believed to symbolise progress. Due to the fact that pigs move forward when they eat, they are believed to bring about progress throughout the year ahead. Their rotund shape is also said to symbolise a fat wallet ahead.
No matter what your food tradition, we hope you have the happiest New Year and that you go into 2022 with a comfortably full belly!
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