Traditional New Year's Day Foods

Recipes & what each food symbolizes

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Put good luck on the menu on New Year’s Day by serving these traditional southern  dishes. Includes recipes for collard greens and black-eyed peas and the origins of New Year’s Day food superstitions.

Growing up we were  told that the number of black-eyed peas and greens we ate on New Year’s Day would foretell how much money we would earn in the coming year.

Pork is a symbol of progress, moving forward and overall good luck, while the rest of the food on the plate symbolizes wealth and prosperity.

Cornbread is a stand-in for gold.

Black-eyed peas represent coins.

Collards and other greens look like folded money.

Many different regions and cultures around the world have New Year’s Day food traditions.

South Carolina cooks serve Hoppin’ John, a stew made with black-eyed peas and rice and seasoned with bacon or pork fat, on New Year's Day.

Germans traditionally eat lentils and pork at the first of the year, for luck and prosperity.

The Swiss celebrate the new year by dropping dollops of whipped cream on the floor as a symbol of the richness to come.

Foods You Shouldn't Eat on New Year's Day 

Some foods are believed to bring bad luck 

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Some people believe you shouldn’t serve chicken or poultry on Jan. 1 or you’ll spend the year “scratching” for money.

Because lobster moves backwards, you could set yourself up for a year of setbacks if you eat it on New Year’s Day.

Try The Recipes


How to Make Southern-Style Collard Greens

Soak fresh collards in a clean sink filled with water. Drain, then soak again, rinsing to remove any remaining sediment.

Next Step

Wash the collard greens


Saute bacon or pork fat and onions in oil.

Add chopped collard greens to the pan and cover with chicken broth.

Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, if desired.

Boil for 3 minutes, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 45-60 minutes, until tender.

How to Make Black-Eyed Peas with Ham 

Wash the beans, removing any sediment. Place in a pan and cover with water. Let them soak, covered, overnight. 

Next Step

Wash and soak the beans


Drain and rinse the beans. Return beans to a pot and cover with water. Season with salt and pepper, about 1 teaspooon each. 

Next Step


Add a ham bone, ham hock, fatback or other pork to the pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1½ to 2 hours, until tender.

Southwestern style cornbread made with bacon, sauteed onions and peppers and  buttermilk and  loaded with cheese!

Cheesy Green Chile Cornbread