8 Foods That Will Bring You Luck in 2011
Vicki Santillano | DivineCaroline
January 03, 2011
Ringing in the new year with good company and ample spirits is one of our oldest holiday traditions. Being surrounded by loved ones and bubbly champagne during the first seconds of January 1 sets the stage for a joyous future. (Well, aside from the post-celebratory headaches that some of us will experience in our very near-futures.)
The start of a new year represents hope and promise, and many see it as a way to start over, to leave the worries and sad events of the previous year behind and gain a fresh perspective. People all over the world perform good luck rituals to ensure this optimistic outlook, and most revolve around copious amounts of food—the ultimate symbol of prosperity. Because this year was full of hardships for so many of us, it seems even more imperative to make sure that the new year treats us all a little better. Here’s hoping that keeping these good-luck staples on our tables on New Year’s Day will bring about a successful and plentiful new year.
Eating green, leafy vegetables is a good idea year-round, but on January 1, it may bring you more than good health. Because the color and shape of certain greens is similar to money, many consume vegetables like kale, chard, and cabbage in the hopes of a wealthier new year. The color green is also often seen in many countries as epitomizing growth and abundance. Southerners in the U.S. prefer collard greens. In Denmark, a popular New Year’s dish is sweetened kale cooked with cinnamon. People in Germany eat their cabbage in sauerkraut form.
Any legume serves as a symbol of good luck for the new year, but black-eyed peas are the bean of choice for people in the southern U.S. This tradition’s origins come from the Civil War days. Vicksburg, a town in Virginia, was thought to be devoid of food during the battles until the people there found the peas. The legume has been considered lucky among Southerners ever since. They eat a dish called Hoppin’ John, which is comprised of black-eyed peas simmered with ham hocks, spicy seasonings, bell peppers, and rice. It’s usually served with collard greens and a side of cornbread, which is also representative of good luck, perhaps because of its golden hue.
Pigs can be symbols of financial success and progress in life for two reasons. First, because they’re rich in fat, so they’re seen as signs of abundance. Secondly, they tend to move forward when scavenging for food, unlike birds and lobsters, both of which are considered unlucky to eat on New Year’s Day. Therefore, the pig is a frequent star at New Year’s feasts. Those in Cuba, Spain, and Hungary roast their pigs and pig’s feet are a popular side dish in Sweden. In Germany, they take sausage form and collards in the U.S. just aren’t the same without some ham hocks thrown in, although eating hog jowls is also believed to ensure good health.
Lentils look like tiny coins, and they expand while cooking, so many believe they represent economic prosperity in the new year. People in Germany must really want to cover their luck bases—they eat lentils, sauerkraut, and pork sausages together on New Year’s Day. That’s a good luck triple bonus! Not to be outdone, those in Italy eat sausage with lentils just after the stroke of midnight. Brazilians start their year with lentils and rice or lentil stew.