New Year’s Day Food Traditions


  • Eating noodles at midnight is customary at Buddhist temples in Japan.
  • A German/Pennsylvania Dutch tradition is to eat pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s day for good luck.
  • It is the tradition of Bosnia & Croatia (both of former Yugoslavia) to eat what is called “Sarma” or beef wrapped tightly in cabbage to bring good luck in health and wealth for the upcoming year.
  • It is a Cuban tradition to eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. The 12 grapes signify the last twelve months of the year.
  • German folklore says that eating herring at the stroke of midnight will bring luck for the next year. Herring Salad recipe.
  • Eating pickled herring as the first bite of the New Year brings good luck to those of Polish descent.
  • In the southern United States, it is believed eating black eyed peas on New Year’s eve will bring luck for the coming year.
  • Also from the south comes the custom of eating greens such as cabbage, collard greens, mustard greens, kale or spinach to bring money.
  • One more from the Southerners: eating cornbread will bring wealth.
  • The Southern custom of eating greens can be found in other cultures as well, although the cabbage can take many forms, such as sauerkraut or even Kimchi.
  • In the Philippines, it is important to have food on the table at midnight in order to insure an abundance of food in the upcoming year.
  • Boiled Cod is a New Year’s Eve must in Denmark.
  • OlieBollen a donut-like fritter is popular in Holland for New Year.
  • Black-eyed peas, fish, apples, and beets are eaten for luck at the Jewish New Year’s celebration (not celebrated on Jan 1).
  • Another tradition from the Philippines is to collect 7 different types of round fruits. The round shape of the fruits signify money and seven is believed to be a lucky number. Set on the dinner table on New Year’s eve, the fruits are believed to bring prosperity and sound financial status for the coming year.

Other New Year’s Traditions and Superstitions

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2 Responses

  1. Yes, in Japan, we eat noodles at New Year Eve (it’s called toshikoshi-soba)…but not at a temple—at home.

    But many people go to a temple just before midnight for the ringing of the temple bell 108 times.

    Check my Japanese New Years posts:
    http://tokyo5.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/new-years-eve/
    and
    http://tokyo5.wordpress.com/2008/12/27/japanese-new-years/

    New Years is the most important holiday in Japan.

  2. […] The round shape of the fruits signify money and seven is believed to be a lucky number. Set on the dinner table on New Year ’s eve, the fruits are believed to bring prosperity and sound financial status for the coming year . …[Continue Reading] […]

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