Traditions might vary around the world and in many culture, various food items are thought to be lucky. From symbolizing wealth to long life, here is a look at some of such items that will bring you luck in the coming year.
In Japan and a few other Asian countries, people slurp down soba or buckwheat noodles on New Year’s Day to symbolize long life. The noodles are called toshi-koshi soba, meaning “from one year to another” and if they manage not to break while eating, then it brings extra luck.
In many parts of the world, cooked green vegetables are considered lucky because they look like money, and thereby symbolize economic fortune. In Germany, cabbage is the vegetable of choice while for Denmark, it is stewed kale with sprinkled sugar and cinnamon. For Southern Americans, collards do the magic.
People in China eat a whole steamed fish since it symbolizes prosperity. In Poland and Scandinavian countries, they choose pickled herring as their silver scales look like money. In Italy, they have dried salt cod while Germans eat carp. They also tuck a few scales of the fish into their wallets for prosperity.
In Spain, Portugal and many Latin American countries, revelers eat 12 grapes for each stroke of midnight as they ring in the New Year. Per an age-old tradition, each grape represents a month, and the luck for that month depends on the sweet and sour taste of each grape. So, for instance, if the fourth grape turns out sour, then April might just be a little rocky. The goal is to swallow each grape and finish them off before the last stroke of midnight.
With their seed-like appearance resembling coins, lentils are symbolic of money. In Brazil and Germany, people have lentil or bean soup as the first meal of New Year. Hoppin’ John, a black-eyed pea recipe, is a New Year’s Day tradition in the southern part of the U.S. and is believed to bring luck and prosperity. Italians also eat plenty of lentils on the occasion.
The red color of the fruit represents the human heart, and it denotes life and fertility in Turkey. The Greeks smash a pomegranate in their doorway when the clock strikes midnight as they believe the seeds signify prosperity and good fortune. So, the more the seeds, the better it is.
In many countries, ring-shaped cakes represent good luck as it symbolizes “coming full circle.” It is traditional in Sweden and Norway to hide an almond in rice pudding and the person who finds it is guaranteed a great fortune. In Greece, people hide a coin in a lemon-flavored cake called a vasilopita. Italians eat chiacchiere — honey-drenched donut balls — while Holland eats another donut-like pastry, ollie bollen that are filled with apples, raisins and currants.
Pieces of round fruits, like oranges, are considered lucky because their shape looks like coins. In the Philippines, they eat 13 pieces; while in Europe and the U.S., it’s 12 pieces — one for each month of the year.
Made with ginseng fruit, butter tea, rice and sugar, the dish is considered to be lucky by the Tibetan people and they eat it during their New Year festivities. Ginseng represents boundless longevity, giving the dish the moniker, “longevity rice.”