New Year, New Food

[ 0 ] January 3, 2013 |
Johnna's New Years Collard Greens

Johnna’s New Years Collard Greens

Each new year is a chance to start again — to finally lose the weight you want to lose, to quit smoking, to be healthier, to work less, to make more, to spend more time with family, or to chase your dreams.  There are many traditional dishes that are said to bring good fortune in the new year to help you accomplish some of your goals.

Here are a few traditional dishes that you can enjoy to celebrate the new year (and maybe even get a little luck to find your fortune this year):

Hoppin’ John

This Southern dish features black-eyed peas or cowpeas with spices, ham and sometimes greens. It is believed that you should one pea for every day in the new year to increase your luck (especially in money matters). All types of legumes including beans, peas and lentils are symbolic of money and are supposed to be lucky to eat to celebrate the new year.


Cooked greens are also supposed to be representative of money and are considered lucky to eat to celebrate the new year. Greens like cabbage, collards, chard, and even kale are eaten in countries around the world to celebrate New Year’s Day. The more greens you eat, the more greens you are expected to see in the new year.


In Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, there is a tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight as New Year’s Day is rung in. Each grape stands in for a different stroke of the clock and a different month of the year. If you get a sour grape, it might indicate that the same-numbered month will be difficult in some way.


Pigs are supposed to symbolize progress and prosperity, so eating pork products on New Year’s Day is supposed to bring luck for the new year. In countries like Spain and Austria, roast pig is served. In the United States, ham, jowls, or pig’s feet are often served, usually in addition to some greens. Hoppin’ John combines legumes, greens, and pork, using a number of good-luck foods to create a master good-luck dish.

Cakes and Donuts

Eating foods in the shape of a ring is considered good luck as it is thought to symbolize completing a cycle and coming full circle. Donuts are traditionally enjoyed as part of New Year’s festivities, as are cakes that are baked into a ring.

What foods  do you and your family enjoy to celebrate the new year? Tell us about your traditions in the comments!

Sarah Clare is a writer and oversees the site, where she has recently been researching time tracking software. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys cooking and scrapbooking.

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Category: holiday cooking, Various Cooking Styles

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Panama, Washington, DC and North Carolina. All four places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

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