If you are not originally from the South, you will have a huge culture shock when it comes to Southern New Year Day traditions. Having a mother from the North and a dad from the South, we had an interesting twist to the usual Southern food traditions. Of course, we always ate collard or turnip greens (yuck!) and blackeyed peas along with ham and other sides. I think the greens are the Southern touch of the tradition because mom would also cook cabbage as well. Yay Mom!
So, what is it with these traditions and are they for real? I can't pinpoint how far this "Good Luck" tradition goes back, but I did find out what they are suppose to mean for you in the new year.
- Blackeyed Peas and lentils are to bring you many riches and safety for the new year. According to one article in a local newspaper reported that you should eat at least 365 peas, one pea for every day of the year. Now, who is going to count out every pea on their plate to make sure they have exactly 365? The lentils are suppose to resemble a coin, but the blackeyed peas are the key to prosperity. It also reported you should cook a dime in with the peas. Once someone has found the dime, it will also bring them good fortune.
- Cabbage and/or other greens like collard or turnip are also a sign of prosperity because they represent paper currency.
- Pork, like ham, should be eaten because pigs eat moving forward and not back. We should keep looking forward and never look back. Good concept!
- Some cultures believe that anything resembling a ring is to bring good luck as well. For this reason, the Dutch believe eating donuts will bring you good fortune.
Yesterday, I had my share of the 365 blackeyed peas, cabbage, mashed potatoes, cornbread, and yes even the donut. Because I ate all of this food, will it bring me good fortune for 2009? We will find out this time next year.
So, what are your New Year's Day Family Food Traditions? Do you stick with the "Good Luck" foods or do you have other theories? I'm interested in reading what your traditions might be.
Happy New Year!