On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
Auspicious foods are eaten in many parts of the world, those have important symbolic meanings. They seem to fall into several major categories.
The first class symbolizes financial prosperity. This type of food is round like coins. The second type of New Year’s food symbol represents the hope of having food on the table throughout the year. And a third symbol involves eating sweet food in order to have a sweet year. In some countries people bake a coin in a sweet cake and the person who gets the coin will have good luck throughout the year. In Spain, Portugal, and parts of South and Central America, 12 sweet grapes, one for each month of the year, are eaten at midnight. The hope is to eat 12 sweet grapes to have 12 sweet months! Another symbol for good luck involves eating food in a ring shape – like doughnuts or ring shaped cakes. This represents coming full circle to successfully complete the year – that’s good luck.
When staying at Watson Lake Inn for New Year’s brunch, our guest may feast on house cured salmon and bagels, pork and grits, pancakes with house made mascarpone and bacon just to name a few.
Symbolic New Year Food
- Black-Eyed Peas, Greens, and Cornbread
Even folks who aren’t from the Southern United States go all in on eating black-eyed peas and leafy greens for good luck on New Year’s Day. Add a slice of cornbread, and you’ve got “peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.”
Pork for progress! Pigs root around with their snouts moving in a forward motion, which is why many cultures around the world eat pork on New Year’s Day to symbolize progress for the coming year.
In Spain and Mexico, eating 12 grapes at midnight as the clock strikes once for each hour will bring you luck for the 12 months ahead.
Seeds have always been associated with fertility. In Greece, they hurl whole pomegranates to the floor to release a flood of seeds that symbolize life and abundance.
So many fish in the sea. Maybe that’s why they symbolized abundance in the new year around the world: Asian cultures feast on whole fish to celebrate Lunar New year, while on the other side of the globe, Europeans eat cod, herring, and carp. And while you don’t eat the silvery scales, they do stand for coinage and plenty of it.
- Noodles and Rice
Noodles, especially extra-long noodles, are thought to bring long life if you eat them without breaking them in the middle. Rice is all about fertility and wealth.
Ring-shaped cakes and other rounded sweet treats like the Scandinavian kransekaker – which represent not only carby deliciousness, but also the year coming full circle. In some traditions, a coin is baked inside to bring an extra serving of luck to the one who finds it.
We’d love to hear from you what’s eaten for New Years at your table this year in the comments below.
From all of us here at Watson Lake Inn, we wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.