by, Cassie Younger
Many cultures and traditions incorporate “lucky” foods to eat on New Years to ensure a propitious coming year. Many of them are vegan and appropriately healthy, so vegans need not miss out on the good fortune!
Black Eyed Peas and Greens (American South)
The tradition of eating black eyed peas for New Years started during the Civil War. The southern crops and stored food supply was decimated during these difficult years, but the hearty, humble black-eyed pea remained abundant. Add in some greens which symbolize money and prosperity, and you have yourself a pretty delicious and lucky vegan meal. As the Southern saying goes, “Eat poor on New Years; eat rich the rest of the year”. Luckily, eating “poor” doesn’t mean sacrificing nutrition or flavor with these two ingredients.
Southern Black Eyed Peas and Kale recipe
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In many Asian cultures long noodles symbolize long life, so in Japan they choose soba (i.e. buckwheat) noodles. The good luck doesn’t stick if you chew or break the noodles – so don’t forget to SLURP!
Native Foods uses this image courtesy of http://www.nytimes.com.
Vineyard owners popularized the tradition of “Las dolce uvas de la suerte” (“The Twelve grapes of good luck”) to sell more grapes after a good harvest. One grape is eaten with each stroke of the bell at midnight. Each sweet grape will represent a sweet month for the coming year; each sour grape, a sour month. Martha Stewart recommends stringing them and dangling them over your champagne glass when served, which I find to be an excellent and classy way to celebrate this Spanish custom!
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Lentils are traditionally a good luck food in Italy since they resemble coins and also swell when cooked, therefore symbolizing prosperity and wealth. The Romans started this tradition by giving one another bags of lentils as gifts, in hopes that the lentils would turn to coins, giving luck and prosperity to the recipient.
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Italians also believe wearing red underwear on New Year’s Eve will bring good luck – so don’t forget to put on your favorite pair!
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