Happy New Year!
This New Year, I thought it might be interesting to look at the foods served by different cultures to mark New Year’s Day:
In the Southern United States, a plate of salted pork and black-eyed peas is served. And it is important to leave one pea on your plate to ensure plenty of food in the coming year.
In Brazil, you’ll be fed lentils in one form or another, as lentils represent wealth.
Lentils are also served in Germany, but herring and carp are also favoured dishes.
Greeks serve Basily cake, in which a silver or gold coin is baked, in honour of St. Basily. The person who finds the coin will be blessed with good luck the rest of the year.
You’ll probably be served red snapper in Japan, as it rhymes with their word for happiness. And soba (buckwheat) noodles are served in long strands that diners try to eat in one piece to ensure a long life.
Koreans favour dumplings, soups, noodles and fresh fruit for their New Year’s feasts.
The hollow shape of a ring is considered good luck by the Dutch, who consume donuts on New Year’s Day (and I bet you thought they were a North American invention!).
Many Hispanic people around the world will eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight to ensure 12 months of good fortune.
Scandinavians (from Norway, Denmark and Sweden) often serve herring with cabbage and potatoes. If you don’t like herring, you’ll want to move to the parts of Scandinavia that consider rice pudding with an almond baked in the centre a better luck enhancer.
Hungarians parade a piglet that is rubbed for good luck around the village. Later, diners will sit down to a meal of roast suckling pig (probably not the one they just petted!).
Does your family have a particular dish that is always served on New Year’s Day? What is it, and do you know the story behind this dish? Write in and let us know. We’d love to share your traditions with our other readers.