It’s the time of the year when we say goodbye to the past and welcome in a new year. Many revelers will be popping the cork and toasting 2016 with champagne, but for millions of people around the world, specific foods are enjoyed to summon good health and prosperity for the next twelve months.
Whether you are like me (and don’t buy into lucky charms, rabbit’s foot or the superstitions surrounding luck to bring you prosperity and blessings) or if you do believe—it’s all good.
It’s fun to read and experiment with folklore, and delicious cuisine.
Let’s take a tour at the different customs around the world, discovering a few places in our universe and their traditional fare to celebrate a new year.
Chiacchiere (Italian honey balls)
Chiacchiere (fried dough, dipped in honey and sprinkled in powdered sugar) is a popular recipe for New Year’s Day in Italy, and Italian homes around the world. These delicious treats can be shaped any size, however, for New Year’s they’re made into dough balls, or shaped like a doughnut to symbolize coming full circle.
Sauerkraut, Stuffed Cabbage, Cole-Slaw
In Germany it is said that cabbage will bring many blessings and wealth.
Makes me wonder if the slang word “cabbage” to mean money came from this tradition.
I love all kinds of vegetables, but ones in the cabbage family are not my favorite. I stuff grape leaves instead, and grapes are a sign of good fortune and green, so I’m covered.
Spain, Cuba, Portugal, Hungary, Austria
There may be other cultures as well as those listed in the title that believe pigs symbolize progress, because pigs always move forward, and they push their snouts forward along the ground when scrounging for food.
If you’re a vegetarian, no problem. One can consume food that is shaped like a pig (cookies, crackers and if you’re real talented, vegetable or fruit shaped little pigs).
China, Japan & other Asian Countries
It’s customary to enjoy long noodles in some Asian cultures as it signifies longevity and slurping them brings you extra luck.
It’s important to keep them long, so having them in a stir fry would be appropriate.
Mexico, Spain, Philippines
The most popular round fruit to eat on New Year’s Eve are grapes. Although any round fruit on New Year’s Day works as well.
In Spain, Mexico and Philippines it is tradition to eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight, representing good fortune and health for each month of the new year.
However, you can have 13 if you’d like, because in some European cultures and in the Philippines, 13 is a lucky number.
The golden color of corn resembles gold nuggets.
I decided chocolate will be Canada’s traditional food for the new year. You’ll have to help me spread the word around for this one.
Chocolate is good any time of the year, and it will balance out your life, especially if you have one in each hand.
Have some fun with International traditions & cover all your bases
One could create a menu to cover all your bases. For example: a stir fry, with lentils, sausages, corn bread, followed by grapes, chocolate and Italian dough balls for dessert.
Even if you don’t win the lottery and strike it rich after trying a few of these dishes, you’ll have won the: let’s have something different to eat on New Year’s Day win-fall.