New Year’s Food Traditions from around the World

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While copious amounts of bubbles seem to be universal on New Year's Eve, what is eaten that night differs widely from place to place. From big feasts to eating grapes every culture has its own ways to ring in a lucky new year.

Here’s a quick tour of some of the tastiest traditions tied to the last night of the year which will bring you luck and prosperity for the year ahead.

Twelve Grapes, Spain

Spaniards have the most interesting tradition; At the stroke of midnight, they eat one grape for every toll of the clock bell. Those who manage to finish their mouthful of grapes by the final bell toll are believed to have good luck for the 12 months to come.

The custom began in the 1880’s and was reportedly thought up by grape producers in the southern part of the country. Since then the custom has spread across all Spanish – speaking countries around the world.

Soba, Japan

Soba Noodles, also known as ‘year-crossing noodles or New Year's Eve noodles are popular in Japanese tradition. Soba noodles are imbued with lots of symbolism –slurping the noodles from dinner bowl set is said to bring a fulfilling life, the long noodles symbolize longevity and prosperity.

Another Japanese New Year custom called mochitsuki, with friends and family spending New Year’s Eve pounding sweet, glutinous rice into mochi. Mochi sounds similar to the Japanese word for “to hold” or “to have”, so mochi is eaten in hopes of gaining good fortune over the coming year.

Champagne, Russia

Plenty of cultures write and burn messages – hopes, regrets to achieve solace, but in Russia to really internalize their wishes for the New Year people write their wish down on a piece of paper, burn it, and add the ashes to their Champagne and drink it in champagne glass right at midnight.

Marzipan Pigs, Germany

Germans welcome the New Year by munching on a delicious glücksschwein, or a tiny, cute pig made from sugary almond paste is considered to bring in good luck and prosperity. These Good luck pigs are commonly gifted around New Year's to symbolize good fortune.

Lentils, Italy 

Italians celebrate New Year's Eve with La Festa di San Silvestro, to ring in the New Year, or Capodanno. Although the menu varies, lentils are commonly included and eaten after midnight as their coin-like shape is believed to bring in luck, good fortune and prosperity for the year ahead.

Pork, which is associated with richness, is often on the table as well in the form of stuffed pig's trotters or sausage. Fried balls of dough tossed with honey and confectioners' sugar (chiacchiere) are a popular way to end the meal.

Tamales, Spain

Tamales are a traditional Mexican food items like corn dough stuffed with meat, cheese and other delicious additions and wrapped in a banana leaf.

It symbolizes generations of familial bond as all family member gather together to make this delicious holiday packets – with each member in charge of one aspect of the cooking process

On New Year, it's often served in dinner plates with menudo, a tripe and hominy soup that is said to be good for hangovers.

Pomegranates, Turkey

In Turkey people smash and toss pomegranate against their front door when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. The more seeds that fly out, the better fortune and fertility will that household acquire. The seeds symbolize good fortune and fertility

Hoppin' John, Southern America

A major New Year’s food tradition in the Southern US, Hoppin' John is a dish includes black eyed peas (symbolizing coins), cooked greens such as collard or mustard greens (represent folded money), pork (represents general prosperity) with the side of cornbread (the colour of gold) and rice. This dish is believed to beckon wealth and good luck in the year to come.

So this New Year’s Eve if you are bored of just champagnes and canapés, consider celebrating with some of these food traditions from around the world, believed to bring good fortune and prosperity.


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