Did you eat any traditional New Years Day foods today? I had black eyed peas, corn bread, cabbage, ham, rice and spinach.
“Peas have been all that stood between Southerners and starvation at times,” said Jamie Ross, who is making a documentary film about the mixing and melding of African, Native American and European cultures — specifically regarding food — in the American South. “Booker T. Washington talks about how if they didn’t have anything else, people had peas and cornbread. Maybe that’s why we eat them on New Year’s Day. They remind us that we’ve made it this far and we can make it another year.” KPCC
The custom of eating greens such as cabbage, collard greens, mustard greens, kale or spinach to bring money is said to come from the South. Cabbage leaves are considered a sign of prosperity, being representative of paper currency. Similarly, there is a Chinese tradition in which the Lion spews out cabbage leaves in the Lion Dance during Chinese New Year parades? The lion spews out cabbages onto the ground with enough force to break them to symbolize the spreading of good fortune among the crowd. Greens such as collards or spinach may be substituted. The Pennsylvania Dutch eat sauerkraut to get rich.
Rice is a lucky food that is eaten in some regions on New Year’s Day. One more from the Southerners: eating cornbread will bring wealth.
Whether these foods actually ensure health, wealth or luck, or simply are a superstition, it is a fun family tradition to enjoy these on the first day of the new year. Have a great one!