We always think of popping bottles of bubbly to celebrate on New Year’s Eve, but around the world other cultures have their own food-centric holiday traditions. Here are some of the New Year’s foods others enjoy to bring luck, health, and happiness in the coming year.
Grapes – Eating 12 grapes at midnight – one for each month of the upcoming year – is supposed to bring you a year of good luck.
Black-eyed peas – In the southern part of the U.S., folks eat black-eyed peas to bring wealth in the next year.
Soba noodles – They’re traditionally served on December 31 in Japan and the easy to cut through noodles are supposed to symbolize breaking off bad luck from the prior year, while the long noodles represent a long life.
Pomegranate – In Greece and Turkey they have a tradition with the fruit, but not to eat it. As midnight approaches, people smash a pomegranate as hard as they can on the floor near the door. The fruit is supposed to represent prosperity and fertility and the more pieces it breaks into, the more good luck you’ll have in the coming year.
Vasilopita – This cake is commonly served in Greece and it has a hidden coin or trinket inside. The person who gets the prize in their piece can look forward to a prosperous year and the person who slices the cake brings good luck to their household for the next 12 months, too.
Pig – Pork is big for New Year’s Eve around the world. In Cuba, they celebrate around a roasted pig on a spit, and in Austria suckling pig is a traditional New Year’s Day meal because it represents good fortune for the following year. Pork is also commonly served with those black-eyed peas in the south.
And a couple foods to avoid on New Year’s – Avoid eating chicken because they “scratch backwards” and that could symbolize scarcity in the coming year, plus, they have wings, so your “luck could fly away.” Also steer clear of lobster this holiday because they move sideways or backwards, instead of forward, so eating these on New Year’s could mean misfortune in the next year. And now you know.