This Guide to New Years Day Food Traditions will create the best brunch or dinner to ring in the new year!! Serve your guests a few helpings of luck, prosperity and maybe even some delicious food like collard greens, gumbo and black eyed peas. You’ve got everything you need to create the perfect celebratory menu.
The BEST New Year’s Day Food Traditions Menu
We are officially entering a new decade y’all! And boy, what a decade it has been. Each year has brought such joy in the form of family, friends, travel and career opportunities. I’m beyond grateful for what I’ve been blessed with in the last year and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the years to come.
Many cultures and countries have New Years traditions that are meant to attract good fortune. Having grown up in a Southern household, I know this subject better than most. I grew up looking forward to my family’s annual New Year’s Day food that showcased all my favorite recipes.
We ate Black Eyed Peas, Greens, and Cornbread until we popped. Each dish was to bring us good luck in the New Year and cast away all the things that would get in the way of that.
Today, I’m sharing the best New Year’s Day food, but I’m also sharing that they are not only outstandingly delicious but also rich in history. I encourage you to share these dishes with your New Year’s guests and enjoy the stories behind each one. The good luck couldn’t hurt either, right?
Besides the fact that collard greens are the ultimate Southern side dish, they’re also rumored to deepen your pockets. When it comes to New Year’s Day food traditions, it is widely known that green is the color of money so you can’t go wrong with a couple servings to guarantee a little extra change in your future. If you adore these greens, make sure you check out my Mustard Greens as well.
Black-Eyed Peas are rumored to represent pennies in the South. Though they may seem cheap and inconsequential, they add up over time. With each pea you eat there might be a bit more wealth coming your way.
Looking for some extra luck? Throw a silver coin in the pot! Whoever gets the silver coin will have the most prosperous year!
There once was an old man who walked the streets of Charleston selling rice and peas. His food was famous but his hobbly walk was his signature. Folks from all around the city loved Hoppin’ John and his food was rumored to be good luck. I don’t know that any of this is true but it sure is a cute story.
For a little more flare and some holiday fun, put a penny underneath the dishes of Hoppin’ John!
A New Year’s Supper wouldn’t be complete with a side of cornbread. The color of cornbread is representative of gold, and eating it is intended to promote financial prosperity. If you’re looking for a little extra spending money in the new year, throw in a few whole kernels in the mix (cooked of course) like I do in my Mexican Cornbread.
Fish is considered to be one of the luckiest foods for New Year. Fish are known for laying many eggs which signifies abundance and prosperity. A gumbo that is chock-full of seafood is bound to attract good luck or at least a happy belly. If you love gumbo like this, you will adore the Shrimp Etouffee.
In the Middle Ages owning many pigs was a sign of wealth and prosperity. Today, when it comes to New Year’s Day food, they represent progress because pigs root forward. Like a good harvest, successful swine breeding meant good fortune. Today, pork is still considered to be lucky meat and eating it on New Year’s Day will bring only the best for the year to come. If you love pork chops, definitely also check out my Fried Pork Chops recipe as well. They are amazing!!
In Turkey, pomegranates are representative of the human heart. Including the fruit in your New Year meal is intended to bring you new life and love. I don’t know about you but I’m not one to turn down a little extra love.
Pineapples are considered to be an expression of “welcome” in the South. Serving the fruit to guests symbolizes our appreciation for friendship, hospitality and warmth. You can’t go wrong with serving up a slice of this cake for your New Year’s guests. It may not bring good luck but maybe a bit of good karma instead?
In Ancient Greece, pomegranates were a symbol of good luck, abundance, youth and fertility. Not only is this fruit delicious but nutritious too! Greek custom called for a pomegranate to be broken on a door’s threshold for good luck. This may not be a Southern tradition but it makes for a great cocktail and a fun story!
Alright, so this one might not bring much luck but it’s sweet, fun and spiked. What would New Years be if there wasn’t a good amount of bubbly in the mix? Time to dust off the champagne flutes people!