Sunday, January 1, 2012

Bringing In A Lucky New Year

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I grew up in the South in America and bringing in the New Year means black eyed peas, turnip, mustard or collard greens, and ham. The great (or awful depending on how you look at it) thing about having kids is there is inevitably one of these moments. "But why do we have to eat this stuff today? Why? Why? Why?"

I'm not going to lie. I couldn't answer the question(s). But that didn't stop me. I mean, after all that's what the internet is for right?

It turns out that the first Sephardi Jews arrived in Georgia in the 1730's. Around the time of the American Civil War their New Year's traditions started being adopted. 

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Maybe they were hoping they'd have that extra bit of luck. Perhaps it was just a coincidence that the average soldiers food was typically something with a long shelf life, (like dried beans) hardtack (a type of bread as hard as concrete) with an occasional gift of cornmeal when the opportunity arose, and "bacon" or salted beef. However with some more digging I've learned why these particular traditional southern foods symbolize bringing in good luck for the new year.

Black eyed peas: The peas represent prosperity because as they soak they swell.

{I cheated this year and went with canned ones}

The greens: Money, money, mooooney! The greens are the color of money and who couldn't do with more of that right now?

The ham: Because pigs move forward as they root, it's represents a positive motion. 

{Since I didn't have any actual iddy biddy piggies wallowing around in a printed burlap bag, I took a picture of these plastic ones given to my husband for Christmas. }

And there ya go! Mysteries of Southern food traditions deciphered. What are some of your New Years Day traditions? Are any of them lucky?

Before I go, Happy New Years everyone! I've been really fortunate to meet so many people around the world through blogging. May all of your dreams come true for you and your loved ones. Thanks so much for visiting my site and for taking the time to share your thoughts and comments. 

{All info about the mystery of Southern foods and the luck they symbolize from here}



  1. My best wishes for you in this new year.
    Great blog.

  2. Very interesting! I never knew this. I was always told that sauerkraut was good luck for the new year, but then again my family is German. Go figure. :)

  3. I always wondered why the black eyed peas...thanks for the info! Here in Hawaii it's traditional to eat ahi tuna, octopus, poi, or all of the above. I have no idea why this is either. Hope you have a great new year!

  4. I love southern food! I have yet to try authentic southern food from the South. That's on my bucket list. There is one place in Hawai'i called "Soul Patrol", supposedly they have authentic southern food. To me, it's taste so good, but I don't know if it's authentic. I think it is, but who knows. LOL

    Happy New Year!!!!

  5. Such an interesting post!!! I really enjoyed this; my husband is from the south, and he loves all these foods, brisket is his favorite though, anyway, I'm going to share this post with him! Happy New Year sweetie!!!

  6. Happy new year! I hope 2012 is the best one yet!


  7. I grew up eating pork & sauerkraut each New Year. Now that I'm a vegetarian, that's a no-go. I still love sauerkraut, though.
    Hope you had a lovely holiday, dear!


  8. Happy happy beginning to a fantastic year, to YOU! Love that you indulge in Southern food. Such a comfort food for me, and reminds me of my family! xoxo