Monday, December 28, 2015

7 Lucky Foods to Eat on New Years

Later this week, we get to celebrate a new start with the coming of 2016! And what better way to celebrate than with food? For centuries, all around the world, people have been eating these foods for luck, prosperity, health, and longevity in a new year. And if the whole world’s doing it, there must be some truth to it, right?

This New Year’s midnight tradition comes from Spain: before you take your first sip of champagne of 2016, grab 12 grapes to pop one by one as the clock strikes 12. Small and round, grapes resemble coins and are meant to bring fortune in the new year. Each grape represents each month of the year: if the grapes are sweet, it’s smooth sailing, but if one happens to be sour, watch out for that month.

Cooked Greens
Load up on green, leafy veggies on the first day of the year for good fortune. Because their leaves look like folded money, greens are symbolic of economic fortune, and it’s believed the more you eat, the more fortunate you’ll be (which is true, health-wise). So whether you go with the Danish recipe of stewed kale sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, German sauerkraut (cabbage), or collards (the southern US green of choice), eat up and be prosperous!

Fish are lucky in three ways: their scales resemble coins, they travel in schools (representing prosperity), and they swim forward (symbolizing progress). Most cultures eat some type of fish for an abundant year: Danes and Italians tend to dine on cod New Year’s Day, while herring is eaten at midnight in Poland and Germany. In Japan, herring roe is eaten for fertility, shrimp for long life, and dried sardines for a good harvest. And in China, they prepare fish with the head and tail still intact to ensure a good year, start to finish.

Pomegranate seeds are considered lucky because they represent prosperity in the new year. In Turkey, they take it two steps further: the red color represents life and fertility; and the medicinal properties represent health. Don’t like pomegranates but want all of those things in 2016? Go Greek: when the new year turns, it’s a customary there to smash a pomegranate on the floor in front of your door to break it open and reveal the seeds; the more seeds, the more luck.

The longer, the better! In China, Japan, and other Asian countries, it’s customary to eat noodles, signifying longevity, on New Year’s Day. Typically, the idea is to cook and eat them without breaking or chewing them, so we recommend serving up a little Stir-Fry-day special for this New Year’s Day.

The custom of eating pork on New Year’s is based on the idea in countries like Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Austria that pigs symbolize progress because they root forward with their snouts, seeming to never move backwards. Their rotundness also signifies wealth and prosperity in places like Italy and the US. Veg(etari)an? Try an Austrian tradition and make some mini-marzipan pigs to get in on this lucky food.

Beans, peas, and lentils are symbolic of money, and because they swell when cooked, they have been eaten with financial rewards in mind since Roman times. Today, many countries have recipes that include lentils to knock out two birds with one stone: in Italy, they have cotechino con lenticchie; in Germany, lentil or split pea soup with sausage; and in the southern US, a dish called hoppin’ john is served with black-eyed peas, pork, greens, and rice.

While you’re stocking up on groceries for your New Year’s Luck Feast, be sure to avoid these foods that are considered unlucky:
  • -Lobsters move backwards, which is said to lead to setbacks in the new year.
  • -Chickens scratch backwards, which is said to cause regret or dwelling on the past.
  • -Some warn against eating ANY winged fowl because good luck could “fly away.”

Are there any foods that are a part of your New Year’s tradition missing from this list? Tell us about them in the comments! And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter so you can stay up to date on all that communEATi has to bring you in the new year!

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