New Year’s Food: Mainstay Cuisine from Around the World

newyearsThere are tons of foods to eat on New Year’s Day that are considered lucky here in the United States. Whether you celebrate the New Year with black-eyed peas or cooked greens, tradition is at the center of many meals on January 1. Preparing special meals for good luck is not foreign to other celebrations around the world either. In case you’d like to add a little more good fortune to your New Year’s feast for 2014, here are a few great-tasting food traditions from all over the globe.


Pork is a good luck food in a number of different countries, including Ireland, Cuba and Austria, where roast suckling pig is traditional. In Germany, roast pork , sausage and cabbage are all mainstays for a new year feast. Even here in the United States, when collard greens are often a part of the meal, ham is usually right there with it for a tasty feast to mark the end of one year and beginning of the next.


While we have champagne toasts at the stroke of midnight to celebrate here in the United States, in places like Mexico and a number of South American nations, fruit is the top tradition. Many will eat 12 grapes to signify good luck for each month of the coming year. The outlook for each particular month can even be “predicted” with the taste of sour or sweet grapes. In China, citrus fruits are symbols of a good year, as many will consume oranges, which represent wealth, and tangerines, which represent good luck.


Just like some citrus fruits, fish play a critical role in Chinese celebrations. Yu, the word for fish in Chinese, is a homophone for abundance. The consumption of it has grown considerably over the years to help kick off a new year. They even keep the head and tail intact for preparation to signify a good year from start to finish.

In other countries like Germany and Poland, eating pickled herring at midnight is said to ensure a year of good luck. The color and look of herrings is also said to play a part in the significance and tie to fortune occurring in the future.

Rice Pudding

In Sweden and Norway, rice pudding is a delicious desert that often comes with good luck when eaten for the New Year. It’s customary to celebrate by eating it in each country, as many will prepare it with an almond in the pudding to represent an extra bit of good luck.


In Japan, soba or buckwheat noodles are not just a beloved food, but they’re also commonly eaten at midnight for the New Year. For the Japanese, these noodles represent longevity and the longer the noodles are, the better they are to eat and celebrate. The noodles are nicknamed toshikoshi soba (passing the year noodles), and many of the soba restaurants all over Japan experience high traffic throughout the day.

Feasts are often some of the best parts of holiday celebrations. For the upcoming New Year, you can add a little international good luck to your own traditions and take your table of food to the next level with any of these five foods. They have all assisted in good fortune for a new year around the world for ages, and now you can reap some of that fortune for your own celebration.


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