15 New Year’s Eve Food Traditions to Bring You Good Luck
Make these lucky dishes part of your New Year's Eve food traditions to bring prosperity and good health to your friends and family.
Try these New Year’s Eve food traditions to get a taste of good luck
New Year’s Eve is a festive time celebrated around the world with friends, family, and fireworks. Another New Year’s tradition people love: eating delicious food. But what counts as New Year’s Eve food? Read through the foods below to get a taste for New Year’s Eve food traditions (you could even serve some at your New Year’s Eve party). While you’re at it, make these resolutions that you’ll actually stick to.
Collard greens are a late crop mostly grown in the South, so they’re easy to find in the colder months. Supposedly greens are a go-to New Year’s Eve food because they resemble money. This year, find out what “Auld Lang Syne” actually means.
Beans, like greens, resemble money; more specifically, they symbolize coins. Traditionally, in the American South, beans are combined with rice and bacon for a lucky New Year’s Eve dish called Hoppin’ John. Start your year off on the right foot with these New Year’s quotes.
Mix and match a few different New Year’s Eve food traditions with black-eyed peas, greens, and cornbread to hopefully make a fortune this year. As the Southern saying goes, “Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.” What a great New Year’s wish!
In Japan, toshikoshi soba is the traditional New Year’s food of choice. The length of the soup’s soba is said to symbolize a long life, while the buckwheat flour the noodles are made of brings resiliency. Part of the tradition is slurping these noodles since the luck from this New Year’s Eve food runs out if you break or chew the noodle. By the way, here’s where to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve.
Make sure to add grapes to your New Year’s food and cheese platter this year. On New Year’s Eve, Spaniards pop a grape for each stroke of midnight, with each representing a page of the calendar ahead. If one grape is bitter, watch out for that month! After eating your grapes, check out these hilarious New Year’s memes.
Pigs are a lucky New Year’s Eve food because pigs move forward when they eat. They are also rotund, symbolizing a fat wallet ahead. And the meat itself is fattier than other cuts of meat, making this New Year’s Eve food both tasty and a symbol of prosperity. These are just a few reasons why so many people eat pork (and sauerkraut) on New Year’s.
Ring-shaped cakes—sometimes with trinkets baked inside—are a symbol of coming full circle, making them a perfect New Year’s food. This tradition stems from the Greeks, who make a traditional Vasilopita for New Year’s Eve with a hidden coin baked inside. If you get the piece with the coin, you’ll have good luck for a year. If you try this tradition and you get the slice with the coin, don’t forget to snap a picture, post it on Instagram, and use one of these clever New Year’s captions with it.
Fish is believed to be a lucky New Year’s Eve food because fish’s scales resemble coins, and they swim in schools, which invokes the idea of abundance. Plus, before they become a New Year’s Eve food, fish swim forward, which represents progress. Start 2022 with a laugh by reading these funny New Year’s jokes.
In a Greek tradition, families toss a pomegranate against their front door when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. The more seeds fall out, the more luck and fertility that household will be blessed with. Pop yours in a plastic bag to avoid making a mess, or make your New Year’s party extra cheerful by whipping up cranberry pomegranate margaritas. Speaking of a New Year’s party, check out the best New Year’s decorations to ring in 2022 in style.
On the day before the Chinese New Year, families will gather to make jiaozi. The dumplings are shaped like gold ingots—the currency used in ancient China—so eating them as a New Year’s Eve food will bring financial luck. Try making your own healthy steamed dumplings.
Mandarin oranges are one of the main symbols of Chinese New Year. Stick with fresh mandarins, not the canned stuff—the fruit itself is said to bring prosperity, and having one with the stem and leaf attached will bring a long life and fertility. You should also try out one of the lucky foods to eat for Chinese New Year.
According to German and Eastern European superstition, ringing in the New Year with a heaping plate of sauerkraut means wealth, and the Pennsylvania Dutch have kept up that tradition. The more you eat this New Year’s Eve food, the bigger your bankroll!
Italians traditionally would eat lentils for the New Year’s Eve dinner. In the past, Romans would give a leather bag of the legumes, in hopes that they would turn into gold coins. Try cooking yours into a sweet potato lentil stew. Or double up on your luck and cook these lentils with another New Year’s Eve food: pork. Once the celebrations are over, find out which stores are open New Year’s Day.
Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish many families eat throughout the holiday season. They symbolize generations of familial bonds, as families typically gather to help each other make this delicious holiday dish.
Don’t be surprised if you see German-Americans eating a glazed soft pretzel on New Year’s. It’s believed that eating a soft pretzel brings good luck into the new year. Who wouldn’t want to kick the new year off with a sweet snack like this?
- History.com: “9 Lucky New Year’s Food Traditions”