Foods to Bring Good Luck for the New Year

Foods to Bring Good LuckThe coming of the New Year awakens the hope that things will go well, and this often prompts people to do whatever they can to make this happen. Proof of this: in many houses all over the world, the New Year’s table will contain foods that are believed to attract good luck.


Because of their shape, noodles are customarily associated with long life. Thus, in several Asian countries, noodles are served on New Year. In Woman’s Day’s  10 Good Luck Foods for the New year, Bryn Mannino says:In China, Japan and other Asian countries, it’s customary to eat long noodles, signify longevity, on New Year’s Day. Since the noodles are never to be broken or shortened during the cooking process, the typical preparation for “Long-Life Noodles” is a stir-fry.”

Whole Fish

Mannino also mentions fish as a good luck item in a New Year menu. She says: According to Doris Lum, a Chinese cuisine expert, the Chinese word for “fish” sounds like the word for “abundance,” one of the many reasons fish has become a go-to good luck food. Also, Rosemary Gong writes in Good Luck Life, her book on Chinese celebrations, that it’s important for the fish be served with the head and tail intact to ensure a good year, from start to finish. 

Round Fruits

Fruits, usually round or ovoid in shape, are believed to bring good luck because they resemble coins. For some Mexican communities, the fruit of choice is a dozen grapes. In New Year’s Eve and The 12 Grapes: A Spanish Tradition Brought to Mexico, Jack E. George writes:The tradition originated in Spain and has now been adopted by Mexico and many Latin American countries for their New Year’s Eve celebrations. It sounds simple: Eat 12 grapes in 12 seconds. The timing is crucial and needs to coincide with the final 12 seconds of the year — in Madrid, Spain, it occurs in conjunction with the ‘blong’ of the clock on the city’s Puerta del Sol as it strikes the final notes of the year. It is important to be near a clock tower or some other chiming device that will offer you the precise time you need in order to ‘count down’, and properly follow the requirements of this particular tradition…”


In Epicurious’ Lucky Foods for the New Year, Lauren Salkeld talks about how legumes, peas, beans and lentils are believed to summon good luck for the New Year. She says: “Their small, seedlike appearance resembles coins that swell when cooked so they are consumed with financial rewards in mind. In Italy, it’s customary to eat cotechino con lenticchie or sausages and green lentils, just after midnight—a particularly propitious meal because pork has its own lucky associations. Germans also partner legumes and pork, usually lentil or split pea soup with sausage. In Brazil, the first meal of the New Year is usually lentil soup or lentils and rice, and in Japan, the osechi-ryori, a group of symbolic dishes eaten during the first three days of the new year, includes sweet black beans called kuro-mame.
“In the Southern United States, it’s traditional to eat black-eyed peas or cowpeas in a dish called hoppin’ john. There are even those who believe in eating one pea for every day in the new year. This all traces back to the legend that during the Civil War, the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, ran out of food while under attack. The residents fortunately discovered black-eyed peas and the legume was thereafter considered lucky…”

Salkeld also writes about pork and how several countries believe it brings good luck. This is based, she says, on the way the pig always moves forward, never backward – even when it is rooting for food. “Roast suckling pig is served for New Year’s in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Austria—Austrians are also known to decorate the table with miniature pigs made of marzipan. Different pork dishes such as pig’s feet are enjoyed in Sweden while Germans feast on roast pork and sausages. Pork is also consumed in Italy and the United States, where thanks to its rich fat content, it signifies wealth and prosperity.”

When people all over the world celebrate New Year’s Day, they invariably serve one or more of these foods as part of their menu. Many households do so hoping this will bring good fortune in the next twelve months, but just as many simply like the flavor they bring. Whichever group your household belongs to, the good news is, there are plenty of recipes to help you bring a truly delicious and festive meal for all to enjoy.

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