On New Year’s Eve, revelers around the globe celebrate new beginnings with dinners and parties with the ones they love. However, it’s how they celebrate, or what they consider lucky to eat while celebrating, that differs greatly from culture to culture.
Here are eight traditional eats that many cultures consider lucky to chow down on in order for good fortune in the New Year…
Noodle dishes are popular in Asian countries, like Japan and China. However, traditional buckwheat (or soba) noodles make the menu at most New Year’s Eve celebrations due to their significance. Many believe that consuming a bowl of noodles come midnight on December 31 will bring the lucky slurper longevity or bear tidings for a long, healthful life.
Pomegranates are considered a lucky food to eat in Turkey at New Year’s Eve for two very noteworthy reasons. Firstly, the round shape of the sweet seeds resembles coins and therefore prosperity. While, secondly, the red color of the fruit is believed to symbolize a healthy heart as well as the promise of fertility for the person eating it.
They sure do love their pickled fish in European countries like Germany, Poland, and Scandinavia. However, eating a plate of pickled herring when the clock strikes midnight is customary if you hope the coming year will be bountiful. You see herring itself is not only an abundant staple in Europe; the silver fish is thought to symbolize good fortune.
In Cuba and Spain the pig is a well known emblem of progress and innovation. Not only do residents enjoy a variety of pork dishes; they also bake cookies and pastries shaped like the animal as a sign of “moving forward” into a new year.
The country of the Philippines takes much significance from the shape of the grape, where the coin-like fruit is a welcome guest at New Year’s parties as long as it’s eaten in quantities of 13 (a lucky number). While in Spain, 12 grapes are eaten to bring luck for each coming month of the New Year. At the stroke of midnight, guests will quickly gobble down their grapes to bring luck in the year ahead.
Cornbread is a favorite at most Southern American tables. However, on New Year’s Eve a side of cornbread with your meal is consumed to bring fortune. The bread’s golden-baked color is considered extra lucky as far as monetary success is concerned.
In Italy, most New Year’s revelers will nosh on bowls of green lentils with sausage in hopes of a year of prosperity. The lentils, which swell when cooked, are believed to symbolize coins or wealth.
In China, fish and abundance go hand in hand. In fact, eating fish is considered good luck as long as the fish is served whole (with the head and tail still attached)—which symbolizes a prosperous year from “beginning to end.”