New Year’s Day Food Tradition

Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.

According to folklore, this auspicious New Year’s Day tradition dates back to the Civil War, when Union troops pillaged the land, leaving behind only black-eyed peas and greens as animal fodder. Rich in nutrients, these were the humble foods that enabled Southerners to survive. Details of stories differ, but each celebrates a communion of family and friends bound by grateful hearts and renewed hope for good things yet to come. -Southern Living

No, I didn’t grow as a child of the South, but over the years, I  joined the many Southerners who eat some of these delicious foods on New Year’s Day.

Black eye peas represent coins.
Collard greens represent paper money.
Cornbread, often served with black-eyed peas and greens, represents gold.

One popular dish is Hoppin’ John, which is a mixture of black-eyed peas, rice, and bacon or ham hock.  Attached is a recipe link below courtesy of Emeril Lagasse.

In China, they celebrate the first day with:

  • Fish — an Increase in Prosperity.
  • Chinese Dumplings — Wealth.
  • Spring Rolls — Wealth.
  • Glutinous Rice Cake — a Higher Income or Position.
  • Sweet Rice Balls — Family Togetherness.
  • Longevity Noodles — Happiness and Longevity.

What are your New Year’s Day food traditions? I would love to hear from you!

Fuel The Soul


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