Hoppin' John
New Year's Food Traditions


While New Year’s Day may have come and gone, it is never a bad thing to try and get some luck for the times ahead. Food has traditions and superstitions surrounding it throughout the year, whether it be harvest time, or a holiday, and New Year’s is no different. Not surprisingly, there are a number of different foods around the world which hold this heritage.

Hoppin’ John

A tradition in the Southern United States, this dish made of black-eyed peas, rice, and pork is often served alongside braised collard greens and cornbread.  The peas are meant to represent coins due to their shape, while the collards are green like money and the cornbread is the color of gold. 


Mostly a tradition in Mexico, but also found in the American Southwest, tamales are a labor intensive dish that is often served throughout the holidays and specifically on New Year’s Day. Because these amazing pockets of masa stuffed with meat takes a good bit of work, the family would gather around the kitchen and make them together.

Soba Noodles

In Japan, the classic dish to have on New Year’s Eve is toshikoshi soup made with buckwheat soba noodles. Toshikoshi translates to mean “to climb or jump from the old year into the new” and these long, thin noodles symbolize a long and healthy life. 

Twelve Grapes

Eating twelve grapes is a superstition found mainly in Spain. Each grape is eaten as the clock rings out twelve times at midnight. They represent the twelve months of the year and failure to eat them by the time the last chime rings will supposedly mean bad luck for the year ahead. 


Seen in Italy, lentils are the dish to be had for a year of luck and prosperity. This is due mainly to the shape of the legume being seen as resembling a coin. The lentils are often served alongside some pork sausage as pork is also seen as a symbol of luck.

Pork and Sauerkraut

This tradition was brought to the United States by the Pennsylvania Dutch and their Germanic upbringing. Said to bring good luck and progress in the new year because pigs are animals that root forward or move ahead. The side of sauerkraut is based on the idea that cabbage symbolizes riches, prosperity, and long life due to its long strands. 

Whether you celebrate with a regional tradition or possibly make your own, Fossil Farms wishes you a happy and healthy New Year filled with prosperity.