All over the world, one of the ways that people prepare to bring in New Year’s Eve and the New Year is by eating certain food to bring good luck and good fortune for the upcoming year.
Eating pork and greens is not just restricted to the Southern United States (and other parts of America); other cultures worldwide also have the custom of eating pork and greens for good luck. There’s actually about six groups of “lucky” foods: Besides pork and greens, legumes, grapes, noodles, certain fruit and cakes are also consumed (pork is considered lucky because in many cultures, having a pig (or pigs) meant that you could afford the animal, and the pork that came from it-a sign of prosperity. Also, the pig moves its snout forward-a sign of forward progress).
In Poland and Scandinavia, eating regular and pickled herring at the stroke of midnight is believed to bring good luck for the new year. People of Polish descent often eat pickled herring as their first bite of food for this reason (this was done to also ensure a good catch for fishermen throughout the upcoming year, therefore lots of food for everyone).
Cod is consumed in Denmark (boiled) and Italy (dried).
In some places, fish with silver scales are eaten; the scales are often saved and sometimes carried around in the pocket for good luck.
In many Asian countries, long noodles are the main lucky dish of choice (the long length means a long life, so it’s important to eat them without breaking any!).
Lentils are also popular in Italy, because of their green color and shape, symbolizing money.
Bread or cake often with small coins or dolls (figurines) baked inside are considered lucky in France and Mexico (King’s Cake), Greece and Eastern Europe (Vasilopita). It’s good fortune through the year for those who eat the cake-and especially lucky for those who end up with the coin or doll in their slice.
Round or ring-shaped food like bagels or doughnuts represent the year coming full circle-and good luck, too. Linzertorte is also popular in many Eastern European countries, while in Holland, the Dutch have a traditional fruit-studded doughnut called Olie Bollen (“oil balls”).
In Turkey, pomegranates are considered lucky fruit for their red color and seed shape. At the stroke of midnight, it’s traditional for those in Spain, Portugal, Cuba and several Hispanic countries to eat 12 grapes, one for each strike of midnight. The fruit’s round shape symbolizes the yearly cycle, while 12 stands for the 12 months of the past year.
Seven different types of round fruit are consumed for prosperity in the Philippines. 7 is considered a lucky number, and the round shapes stand for money. There’s also a lot of food on the table at midnight in order to insure more food for the next year. Oh yeah!
Did You Know That…..
The making of New Year’s resolutions goes back to the Babylonians.
Auld Lang Syne means “old long ago.”