Eating your way to Good Luck Starting with the New Year

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We can all use some Good Luck! Try some of these foods that will traditionally bring luck into your New Year.

Foods that resemble money such as coins:


Black-Eyed Peas and other Legumes or Lentils — They swell when cooked and when consumed which brings increasing prosperity.  Roundness represents coins.

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Nuts, Dates, Figs.



New Year’s revelers in Spain consume twelve grapes at midnight—one grape for each stroke of the clock.  This dates back to 1909, when grape growers in the Alicante region of Spain initiated the practice to take care of a grape surplus.  Each grape represents a different month, so if for instance the third grape is a bit sour, March might be a rocky month.  For most, the goal is to swallow all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight, but Peruvians insist on taking in a 13th grape for good measure.

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Tangerines represent good luck, and oranges represent wealth.  In Turkey, pomegranates symbolize good luck because of their red color and round seeds, which represent money and prosperity.


Apples– Jews dip them in honey for Good Luck.

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Greens such as Collards, Kale and Chard, Cabbage Leaves, Romaine, which look like folded money represents paper currency.  The more greens you eat the larger your fortune for the year.  The color green is also symbolic of hope because green is a color associated with (natural) growth, new branches of a tree, etc. green being considered the color of prosperity concept predated traded currency.


Rutabagas are lucky because it is golden color.


Shrimp — eat shrimp for longevity, saying that the curve of the shrimp resembles the hunched back of an elderly person.

Herring roe is consumed for fertility.


Dried Sardines– represent a good harvest (sardines were once used to fertilize rice fields)

Pigs (Pork) symbolizes prosperity, where thanks to its rich fat content, signifies wealth and prosperity.  The custom of eating pork on New Year’s is based on the idea that pigs symbolize progress.  The animal pushes forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving.


Risotto signifies wealth with its abundance of small grains.

Rice and starches symbolize abundance, especially the many grains of rice.  But stay away from the white rice and starches–the color white is a symbol of death in the Chinese culture, so avoid eggs, tofu, or white cheese.


Long Noodles – Many Asians believe that eating a long noodle without breaking it before it is in your mouth brings long-life.


Spring Rolls represent Gold Bars.

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A good luck sweet is important, such as the never-ending circle of a Round or Ring-Shaped Cake. Add a coin to the batter, whoever finds the coin, receives additional Good Luck.  Italy has chiacchiere, which are honey-drenched balls of pasta dough fried and dusted with powdered sugar.  Poland, Hungary, and the Netherlands also eat donuts, and Holland’s ollie bollen is a puffy, donut-like pastry filled with apples, raisins, and currants.  Mexico’s rosca de reyes is a ring-shaped cake decorated with candied fruit and baked with one or more surprises inside.  In Greece, a special round cake called Vasilopita is baked with a coin hidden inside.  At midnight or after the New Year’s Day meal, the cake is cut, with the first piece going to St. Basil and the rest being distributed to guests in order of age.  Sweden and Norway have similar rituals in which they hide a whole almond in rice pudding—whoever gets the nut is guaranteed great fortune in the new year. The desserts are often “over-sweetened”– the idea of abundance in the coming year!

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Eat anything in the shape of a snake, like the breads and pastries above.  “As a snake sheds its old skin and leaves it behind, this cake symbolizes leaving the past behind as a new year begins.”


Austrians are known to decorate the table with miniature pigs made of marzipan. You can purchase these sweeties at The Reading Terminal Market-Muller’s Candy & Chocolates for $6.95.


To Eat or NOT to eat?

Whole Fish- symbolizes a beginning and an end.  Germans put some of the fish’s scales in their wallets to ensure financial good luck.  Although some cultures believe fish will swim away with your money—bringing bad luck.


Chicken will have you scratching for your money.  Another theory warns against eating any winged fowl because good luck could fly away.



Lobsters will bring BAD LUCK because they move backwards and could therefore lead to setbacks.

Happy New Year!

Information in this article was taken from the sites listed above please visit them for additional information on specific areas and cultures.  And all the best in the New Year!

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