The holiday season is full of long-standing traditions, but we love the traditions we get to eat the most. No matter where you’re from, many believe what you do on January 1 can set the tone for the entire year. While we can't confirm that picking-up a four-leaf clover or hanging a spider ornament in our tree brings good luck, we can all agree that toasting our champagne glasses to the new year on a full stomach is a lucky way to start in itself. People from countries everywhere will eat traditional foods as the clock strikes at midnight in hopes of bringing a little more luck and good fortune to their lives. If there's any amount of truth to this, we’re not taking any chances. As you reflect on the past year and make those resolutions, try these edible traditions from around the world to ring in your luckiest (and tastiest) year yet.
1. Doughnuts for the Year Coming Full Circle
Ring-shaped food is said to be symbolic of the year coming full circle. For your New Year's breakfast, consider a tasty bundt cake or one of our favorites—the classic doughnut. Trying to eat a bit healthier already? Celebrate all you've accomplished with less guilt by making a baked version instead of frying them in oil.
2. Black-Eyed Peas for Southern Superstition
If you're attending a New Year's celebration in the South, chances are you'll be served black-eyed peas prepared with pork, celery, and onion. Also known as Hoppin' John, the traditional dish has been consumed for luck for more than 1,500 years. They got their start as being part of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. The little legumes—a fancy term for the plant family peas and beans come from—in this dish also pack fiber and vitamin A, so you can stick to your healthy resolutions, too.
3. Long Soba Noodles for Longevity
The longer the noodle, the longer the life. At least, that's what this ancient superstition says. Traditionally slurped up for Chinese New Year, soba noodles are extra-long and symbolize longevity. Just be careful to not break or chew the noodles on their way from bowl to mouth! We're not sure what would happen, but it doesn't seem very lucky.
4. Pork for Prosperity
If it's wealth and prosperity you seek, pork should be your main course this new year. New Year's Eve should be celebrated with great food, so why not have a taco party? We're ready to dish out some tacos featuring pork carnitas seasoned with spices like cumin, paprika cinnamon, and oregano.
5. Smashed Pomegranate for Good Fortune
Pomegranates are considered good luck for the people of Greece, but they are not used in a way you'd expect. Instead of eating this sweet red fruit, Greek families crush a pomegranate on the threshold of their home at the start of the new year. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't buy extra fruit to add to your sparkling drink when you toast at midnight or turn it into a delicious treat for your guests.
6. Go Green for Health and Wealth
Who doesn't want to start their new year off with some green? Money, that is. It is often believed that eating greens to ring in the new year will bring good financial luck in the New Year. We sure hope that's true because it's just another reason to keep these nutritious leafy greens on the menu.
7. Breaking a Wishbone for Luck
Fighting over the wishbone is almost as much of a tradition as the breaking of the wishbone itself. Legend says if the wishbone breaks evenly between the people pulling it, they both get their wishes. If the bone doesn't break right down the middle, the person with the longer end will have his or her wish granted. Ancient Romans saw chickens as predictors of the future and good luck omens. We're ready to roast up a whole bird and make our wish come true.
8. Lentils: Bites to Success
As lentils are soaked in water, they expand, symbolizing prosperity. Wintertime is great for a hearty bowl of soup, so let's look forward to a prosperous year with a big pot of our favorite lentil soup.
9. Golden Cornbread for a Golden Year Ahead
Cornbread's delicious golden hue symbolizes, you guessed it, wealth. It's a tried-and-true classic quickbread, but the many varieties will give you plenty of options to strike dinner menu gold in the new year.
10. Whole Fish for Wholesome Months Ahead
Legend has it that eating a whole fish—literally the head, tail, and all—brings forth a good year. We're thinking about firing up the grill to get our fix with some stuffed trout. Once prepped, this recipe will have your dinner on the table within 10 minutes. Not feeling that ambitious? Nod to the tradition with some tasty baked fish instead.
11. Fortune Cookies for Well Wishes
Kick-off the new year with messages of luck, hope, and prosperity for your friends and family. Slide each one into a handmade cookie (yes, you really can make your own fortune cookies at home!). If your loved ones have a good sense of humor, consider slipping in a joke or two. Starting the New Year off with laughter can't be a bad thing. Don't forget the lucky numbers!
12. Sauerkraut for Longevity, Luck, and Money
For the Pensylvania Dutch, long shreds of cabbage represent a long life making sauerkraut a must-have on the New Year's dinner table. Be sure to make a hefty portion, the Pennsylvania Dutch also wish for as much luck and money as the number of cabbage strands on the table.
13. Herring for a Bountiful Year
Look to Europe for your newest New Year's tradition. In countries like Norway, Germany, Poland, Finland, and Sweden, herring is bountiful thanks to their proximity to the Baltic Sea. So on New Year's, right at midnight, herring is served up to encourage bounty and prosperity in the coming year. The fish's silver is also said to resemble coins, which is a good sign of future fortune.
14. A Grape for Each Month
New Year's celebrations in Spain kick off with a handful of grapes–12, to be exact. Tradition states that at the stroke of midnight, you should eat 12 sweet grapes, one for each month of the upcoming year. Keep the symbolism alive with your celebratory dessert, too.
Superstitious or not, we're excited to ring in 2020 with a plate full of foods that are not only tasty, but may bring us a year of good fortune, luck, and prosperity. Cheers!