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Eat Your Way to a Lucky New Year

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Happy New Year!

This holiday began in Mesopotamia with Babylon during 2000 B.C.E. It was originally celebrated in March because that is when the year ended, according to their calendar. The month of January did not exist, not until roman times. During 46 B.C.E. Julius Ceasar changed the new year to January in the Julian calendar, which we still observe now. During the middle ages, this holiday was considered pagan, therefore the new year holiday was celebrated on December 25th, along with the birth of Jesus. It wasn't until 1582, when the Gregorian calendar restored the new year on the 1st of January, that the holiday remained on the 1st of January. Soon all of Europe and surrounding countries would observe this holiday, eventually spreading to America and surrounding countries.

  • The longest new year's history dates back to China's Shang dynasty 3,500 years ago.
  • The Jewish new year is called Rosh Hashanah.
  • The ball dropping in New York Times Square began in 1907.

Lucky Food For New Year's Eve

All around the world, there are certainly lucky and traditional foods that are prepared and served just for this holiday, New Year's Eve. It has been said that these "lucky" foods can bring success, prosperity, longevity, and even fertility throughout the year for anyone who eats these foods on the eve of the new year. Ranging from pork to noodles, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Each of these new year dinner traditions begins in their country of origin, which varies around the world. Below is a list of lucky foods to eat for new year's eve dinner. We will explore the most popular recipes along with origins.

1. Black-eyed Peas, Greens, and Cornbread.

This is a southern and Jewish tradition for each and every new year's eve dinner. Eating 365 black-eyed peas on new year's eve will grant luck and prosperity every day of the year. They aren't even peas at all, but actually beans from the cowpea family.

  • Black-eyed Peas for Pennies
  • Greens for Dollars
  • Cornbread for Gold

*Be sure to season the black-eyed peas and the greens (such as collard or turnip greens) with bacon fat, olive oil, and onion then slow-cook for several hours on low.

2. Toshi Koshi Soba

This lucky Japanese, Chinese, and Asian new year's eve dinner tradition involve buckwheat noodles, or any noodles even ramen, and best if not broken. The longer the better for longevity and prosperity for the upcoming year. Since it is cold out, a hot and hardy soup would be amazing, like the Toshi Koshi soba. This meal has three parts:

  1. Broth- homemade with several different cooking wines.
  2. Noodles- boil, rinse and drain as usual.
  3. Toppings- seaweed, fish cake, scallions.
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Toshikoshi Soba

Toshikoshi Soba

3. Braised Lentils and Pork

This Italian new year's eve lucky dinner tradition is said to bring prosperity and wealth for the upcoming new year. Lentils, part of the legume family and high in protein and fiber like beans, are not actually beans. They do resemble roman coins, which is why Italy believes this to be lucky for new year's eve dinner. Italian braised lentils are usually served with pork in the shape of a sausage called cotechino. Germany also serves pork for new year's eve dinner, usually with sauerkraut. Any pork will do, as long as it simmers slowly with the lentils.

All braising is...cooking at a low simmer until extra tender!

Lentil-Braised Pork with Olive Relish

Lentil-Braised Pork with Olive Relish

4. Twelve Grapes at Midnight

The new year's eve tradition and superstition of eating exactly 12 grapes right as the clock strikes midnight is directly from Spain. Eating one grape for each clock bell chime is said to be luck for each of the upcoming months for the new year. The best of luck comes to those who perform this tradition with green grapes while wearing red underwear, such as red boxers or a bra. If you can complete the challenge by eating each grape at each clock bell chime without falling behind, you can make one wish for the new year. The clock chiming twelve times at midnight is broadcasted on all Spanish channels/youtube for everyone around the world to be a part of.

12 Grapes at Midnight

12 Grapes at Midnight

5. Seven Pomegranate Seeds

This Greek tradition of smashing pomegranates on new year's eve is lucky and also a foreshadowing of the luck to come. Eating only seven of the pomegranate seeds is meant to bring fertility, abundance, and life. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Jews all believed in the renewing powers of the pomegranate to bring prosperity so this fruit is highly valued. In Brazil, they do not eat the seven seeds however they keep and store them in a wallet or purse on that person. The pomegranate and its seeds are so traditional, it is even mentioned in the bible. Some even believe that the pomegranate was really the forbidden fruit, not the well-known apple.

Lucky Fruit for the New Year

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Crystal Adamson

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