After the champagne toast and the parties that ring in the new year, it’s time to eat. Jan. 1 is a fresh start and a symbolic time to eat traditional foods that bring good luck and fortune for the new year. Different cultures as well as regions have their own festive dishes, which are all honored and eaten on this celebratory day. We’ve rounded up a few recipes that are sure to bring you good luck (and good eating).
On New Year’s Day, you’ll find Southerners eating black-eyed peas and collard greens. The small legumes represent coins, which are said to bring good luck and wealth for the new year. Black-eyed peas are often served with bacon, as pork represents progress because the animal pushes forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving forward. Also, black-eyed peas expand when cooked, which symbolize expanding wealth. Greens, most notably collard greens in the South, are paired with the peas as they symbolize the color of money.
An Italian tradition on New Year’s Day is a festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year, and the main component of the feast is the lentil, which symbolizes money and good fortune for the coming year. Lentils are often served with pork sausage, cotechino, which is symbolic of richness of life for the new year. Pork is a rich fat, which represents wealth and prosperity for the coming year. Germans feast on lentil soup with sausage and in Brazil, the first meal of the year is often lentils and rice.
Another traditional New Year’s Day food is circular cakes and pastries. This symbolizes things coming full circle and the cakes can sometimes have a hidden coin or nut inside; it's said that whoever finds the prize will be lucky in the New Year. Many European countries celebrate by eating donuts and Greece and Mexico have a similar tradition by baking and eating large round cakes.
So, whether you are celebrating the new year with a large feast or trying to nurse a heavy hangover with some down-home grub, whip up some of these recipes to be sure to have a lucky new year.
Emily Jacobs is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyRecipes.