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Try These New Year's Eve Food Traditions To Make 2023 Your Luckiest Year Yet

Feeling superstitious? Try some of these NYE traditions to bring in luck and prosperity this year.

The new year is approaching, which means it's time for last-minute shopping, planning meals to make at your holiday dinner, deciding which champagne you want to drink on New Year's Eve, and setting some intentions for the year ahead.

Regardless of the kind of year you've had, whether it's been a breeze or one full of trials, you deserve some good luck and prosperity in the new year. In fact, it's this desire for luck and good fortune at the turn of a year that has been the inspiration behind so many New Year's food traditions. Have you heard of black-eyed peas and collard greens for good luck? What about a bowl of lentils or a pork chop?

There are many different New Year's traditions that have been passed down between generations and across cultures, all promoting good luck and fortune in the coming year. Read on to see if you recognize any, and don't hesitate to try a few this year so that 2023 can be your luckiest year yet.

Eat black-eyed peas and collard greens

black eyed peas collard greens

Eating black eyed peas with collard greens is one of the most classic and traditional NYE superstitions in the southern United States. According to Southern Living, this meal is also known as Hoppin' John, Cowboy Caviar, or Peas with Ham.

Black-eyed peas were first brought to the U.S. during the slave trade and eaten by African slaves in the southern U.S., according to the New York Times. On the other hand, collard greens are said to have roots in northern Europe. The greens are meant to bring in financial prosperity in the year ahead, while the peas promote abundance and good health in the new year.

Eat pork, not chicken

pork chops

Fans of pork chops, pulled pork sandwiches, and pork sausage will rejoice when they learn that this delicious meat is said to bring luck in the new year. According to TODAY, this has to do with the way pigs behave. Pigs often will bury their snout in the dirt and push forward, so eating pork is said to symbolize the movement forward and onward into a successful year.

On the contrary, chickens are known to scratch backward, which some take as a symbol of staying stuck or moving backward in your life. If you're feeling superstitious this year, maybe skip the poultry and go for pork.

Enjoy some soba noodles

soba noodles on white plate

According to The Japan Times, eating soba noodles, or toshikoshi, on New Year's Eve is a common Japanese tradition to bring good luck, fortune, happiness, and wealth into the year ahead. This is especially fitting since toshikoshi loosely translates to "to jump" or "to move forward from the year behind, to the year ahead." A delicious meal and good luck—what more could you ask for?

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Restock your pantry

woman looking in pantry

Another tradition that stems from the American south is starting the new year off with a stocked pantry and refrigerator in order to bring abundance into the next year. According to Southern Living, this superstition most likely stemmed from the fact that the south has always been home to farming and agriculture. On a practical level, it also feels good going into the new year with fresh food items on hand.

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Dine on lentils

Composition with bowl of lentils on wooden table.

Eating lentils during the new year holiday is said to bringing wealth and potential prosperity, according to the History Channel. Why, you may ask? Because lentils are round and shaped like a coin. You can prepare your lentils any way you'd like, because either way you'll be dining on a (metaphorical) bowl of money. The History Channel also mentions that lentils are classically enjoyed with pork or pork sausage, which is said to be good luck in the new year, as well.

Don't take out the garbage

kitchen garbage

This tradition may lead to a stinky kitchen, so it's up to you whether you follow it or not. A common superstition around NYE is to not take anything outside between midnight on New Year's Eve and January 2, in order to avoid possibly throwing out your good luck charms and positive vibes. Let's just hope your good luck charms don't come with a strong odor.

Eat 12 grapes at midnight

green grapes

This tradition has its origins in Spain, but many people in the United States practice it as well. According to Spanish tradition, if you eat 12 green grapes when the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve, then it will bring you luck in the year ahead. It's likely this tradition started with the Madrid bourgeoisie, and was then adopted by people in the lower class as a way to mock the upper class, according to NPR.

The tradition says to specifically pop a grape in your mouth at each tolling of the bell at midnight, and if you finish all 12 before the bell is done—you'll have good luck. However, since most of us are probably not near an old cathedral on NYE and are instead watching the ball drop from the comfort of our living room, eating the 12 grapes at your own pace is just fine.


Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha
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