Like most southern families, we eat black-eyed peas and cornbread on New Year’s day because that assures us good luck throughout the year. Most folks add collard greens to the meal because that means money in the new year. We add country ham to our black-eyed peas because it tastes good and many people around the world believe eating pork means progress in the new year.
Stories tell us we eat black-eyed peas because of General William T. Sherman. In his march to the sea across Georgia during the Civil War, his troops took all the food they could find but ignored black-eye peas because they were considered to be animal feed. That made the peas ‘lucky’.
In Spain and Mexico 12 grapes are eaten at midnight to bring 12 months of good luck.
Fish is eaten for luck in many countries around the world, including parts of Europe and Asia. Yesterday I met a man from New York who eats herring on New Year’s.
Extra long noodles are thought to bring you a long life. Rice is often eaten with them for wealth and fertility.
Round cakes are thought to bring a full circle of good luck and if you get the piece with the buried coin, you get double good luck for the year.
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