For many of us, each Jan. 1 offers an opportunity to start fresh on all those goals and plans that didn’t quite pan out during the past year. Sometimes, all we need is a little luck to help us get started off on the right foot. There are a variety of foods and traditions that are considered lucky. Eating certain foods on New Year’s Day just may improve the odds that next year is going to be a great one! (At the very least, you won’t be hungry!)
Have you heard of eating 12 grapes at midnight?
Eating one grape at each stroke of the clock is said to represent each month of the coming year. If you get a sour one, that corresponding month might be a rocky one.
This custom is popular in Spain and South America. (I’m not sure I want to know in advance if I’m going to have a bad month!)
Eating black eyed peas or lentils on New Year’s Day is said to bring good fortune.
The beans are supposed to represent coins. Cooked greens, like cabbage, collards, kale or chard, also are symbolic of financial gain because the green leaves look like folded money.
It’s widely believed that the more greens one eats, the larger one’s fortune will be in the coming year.
If you eat meat on New Year’s Day, you might want to choose pork. Because pigs root and dig pushing dirt forward with their snouts, pork symbolizes progress.
Chickens scratch back with their feet, so that symbolizes going backwards or having regrets. Cows stand still, and that shows no progress.
Fish is also an option, since they swim forward, but stay away from lobsters or crabs since they move sideways and backwards.
In China, the New Year’s meal will include noodles. Noodles represent longevity, and the longer the noodle, the better.
Some people feel rice symbolizes abundance, since it swells when it cooks.
Following are some other interesting New Year’s superstitions.
- The New Year’s Eve kiss is a symbol that your affection will last all year.
- You should take nothing out of the house the first day of the year, not even garbage. If you do, it is said that you will be losing things all year.
- Write your wishes on a piece of paper and then burn it to ensure that your wishes are fulfilled.
- Do not clean on New Year’s Day, or you could sweep out your good luck. Likewise, doing laundry may mean a loved one will be “washed away” in the coming year.
Page 2 of 2 - - Open your windows and doors to let the old year out and the new one in.
- Having a well stocked pantry and refrigerator on New Year’s Day will mean you will have plenty of food for the next year.
- Cash in your wallet on New Year’s Day will ensure that it will be full all year.
- If you hope to travel this next year, you might try leaving your luggage outside your front door on New Year’s Eve
While there are no guarantees that any of these superstitions will bring luck, money or ward off bad things, they certainly couldn’t hurt.
I think there are a few that I might try this year!
Anita Marlay, R.D., L.D., is a dietitian in the cardiac rehab department at Lake Regional Health System in Osage Beach, Mo.