New Year’s food traditions around the world

Southern US Hoppin’ John, also known as Carolina Peas and Rice, is a peas and rice dish served in the  Southern United States. It is made with black-eyed peas (or red cowpeas such as iron and clay peas in the Southeast US) and rice, chopped onion, sliced bacon, and seasoned with salt. In the southern US, eating Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day is thought to bring a prosperous year filled with luck. The peas are symbolic of pennies or coins, and a coin is sometimes added to the pot or left under the dinner bowls. On the day after New Year’s Day, leftover “Hoppin’ John” is called “Skippin’ Jenny” and further demonstrates one’s frugality, bringing a hope for an even better chance of prosperity in the New Year. The first written recipe for Hoppin John appeared in the Carolina Housewife in 1847. Spain Eating 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve is both a tradition and a superstition in Spain. The tradition consists of eating a grape with each bell strike at midnight of December 31st. According to the tradition, that leads to a year of prosperity. In some areas, it is believed that the tradition wards away witches and general evil, although this “magic” is treated like an old heritage, and in modern days it’s viewed as a cultural tradition to welcome the new year. There are two main places where people gather to eat the grapes: with family after the dinner or in the main squares… [Read full story]

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