What To Eat For A Lucky Year
As the holidays come to an end, we have an entire new year to start planning for. Though some people think of it as just another day, we allow ourselves to use New Year's Day to wipe the slate clean and focus on the positive. Tradition and culture lead us down the path toward luck — if we choose to take that path. For those who do, there are a few things to nosh on to bring us good fortune. Here is what to eat for a lucky year.
Fish Of Fortune
In some countries, when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, everyone eats a bit of pickled herring with hopes of good fortune for the year because the silvery scales resemble money. Herring happens to be very abundant in Eastern Europe, so this is the food you might expect to celebrate with in places like Poland, Scandinavia and Germany. But in order for you to have a bountiful year, it must be eaten as part of your first meal of the new year.
Circle Of Sweets
To round out a perfect meal for the new year, you have to have dessert. In some countries and cultures, not only is dessert a tasty treat, but it's also a good luck charm to bring you a prosperous year. But it can't be just any kind of dessert, it has to be in the shape of a ring to represent the end of one year and the beginning of the next. In the Netherlands, they keep it simple with a donut called oliebollen. What they serve in Denmark is a bit more spectacular. It's called kransekage. It's basically a cake made up of many rings of pastry, frosted and stacked to create a tower.
Greens For Good Fortune, Cornbread For Cash
While southerners may have borrowed the idea of black eyed peas for the New Year, they certainly made it their own by adding greens and cornbread to make it a very prosperous meal. The greens — collard, kale, cabbage — represents the color of money and cornbread represents the color of gold. It's just a bonus that they taste great together.
Benefits Of Beans
Many countries and cultures hold beans in high regard — but for the new year, they're not just highly regarded, they're also considered lucky. Here in the United States black eyed peas with cornbread and greens is a traditional meal for New Year's Day. It's mostly a southern tradition — some believe that after the Civil War, black eyed peas were one of the few remaining crops to survive the war. However, others believe it's a tradition adopted from European Jewish people who settled in the south. For the Jewish New Year, black eyed peas are eaten for purification. But it wasn't just Jewish people who ate beans for the new year in Europe. Some cultures eat lentils with hopes for wealth because of their coin shape. The Japanese tradition of eating sweet black soybeans for the new year focuses on the body; they believe it brings good health in the coming year.
Pigs Of Prosperity
In Germany and in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country, pork is the main course for the new year to bring good luck. Because pigs root forward, pork is a symbol of progress. Conversely, chickens scratch backwards and both lobster and crab move backwards, so those are to be avoided for the first meal of the year.