Friday, January 04, 2008

Various New Year Traditions Around the Country
IN the spirit of the new year, I wanted to write up something about New Year traditions. Some of the gang over at the USA Deep South website were discussing black-eyed peas and their importance to the southern new year and it got me to thinking...

What do people around the country do to ring in the new year?

As for black-eyed peas, my family always has some on New Year's day for good luck. Sometimes plain with a bit of bacon, sometimes as Hoppin' John (see bottom for recipe). But it is said they bring you good luck. According to how many references to Hoppin' John that I came across during this article's research, there are a lot of southerners who eat it. Plus, collard greens or turnip greens to bring you money in the new year.

Here's what I came across on regarding traditional foods...


Cabbage is associated with wealth and prosperity. The word "cabbage" is also slang for money.

In Germany, eating sauerkraut at New Year's is considered good luck.

In China, a long noodle represents long life and eating them brings you a long life and good health. Don't cut them, though. You need to have those noodles make it into your mouth in one piece if you want good luck. Spring rolls, too, are considered good luck.

In Italy, lentils are supposed to bring you good luck if eaten at New Year's. In some other parts of that country, eating risotto is considered to bring good fortune.

In some countries, the circle is considered a symbol of good luck. A circle always comes back to the beginning, so to speak. In Holland, they eat doughnuts to bring good luck.

In Spain (and other Latin countries), good luck is sure to come when you eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31.

In Germany and Austria, eating pork is good luck. According to the theory, pigs root forward, symbolizing forward movement in the New Year.

In addition to black-eyed peas in the South, collard greens will bring money and cornbread will bring wealth. The dish called Hoppin' John is a mix of black-eyed peas and rice, and is said to bring good luck.

Boiled cod is a New Year's tradition in Denmark.

In the Philippines, a large display of food on the table at midnight symbolizes abundance throughout the New Year.

I could go on and on, but I don't have time to write a long post today. I did provide some links below that have some good articles on the subject.

So, however you celebrate the new year, I wish you good fortune and lots of love for 2008.

New Years Tradition Links: (very interesting article) (tells how the song, Auld Lang Syne became a tradition in the US + more tradtions around the world)'s_day_traditions.htm (paganism's contribution to today's New Year activities)

**Hoppin' John recipe (as taken from

1 pound dried black-eyed peas
2 small smoked ham hocks or meaty ham bone
2 medium onions, divided
3 large cloves garlic, halved
1 bay leaf
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 can (10 to 14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with chile peppers, juices reserved
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, minced
2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 green onions, sliced

In a large Dutch oven or kettle, combine the black-eyed peas, ham bone or ham hocks, and 6 cups water. Cut 1 of the onions in half and add it to the pot along with the garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until the beans are tender but not mushy, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Remove the ham bone or hocks, cut off the meat; dice and set aside. Drain the peas and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaf, onion pieces, and garlic.

Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice, cover, and simmer until the rice is almost tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Mince the remaining onion then add to the rice along with the peas, tomatoes, and their juices, red and green bell pepper, celery, jalapeno pepper, Creole seasoning, thyme, cumin, and salt.

Cook until the rice is tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the sliced green onions and the reserved diced ham. Serve with hot sauce and freshly baked cornbread.
Copyright Dana 2005
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Name: Dana
Location: Chicago, and if y'all call me a Yankee, I'll have to cyber-smack ya'!

I'm just a mom of two, a crafter of jewelry, and to keep my sanity among the Yankees (kidding)I write southern-themed poetry, short stories and memoirs. I have been published on the web on sites such as USA Deep South, Southern Humorists, Muscadine Lines - A Southern Journal, Mosaic Minds and Long Story Short. I am also a contributor in Dew on the Kudzu and Weight-Loss where I write dieting humor.

And this is my blog... Kudzu, funny family stories, poems, family ghosts, snakes, sun-kissed southern memories all inside! Plus some travel reviews, recipes and more! I also make handcrafted jewelry! Check out my jewelry blog - Colors of the Woods

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