The Daily Meal offers 15 New Year’s Eve food traditions. What are your family traditions?
New Year’s Eve is surrounded by traditions and superstitions that supposedly ward off evil and ensure good luck in the new year. Everything from “Auld Lang Syne” and eating black eyed peas to champagne toasts and the midnight countdown stems from the thought that what you do in the last fateful moments of the year will have a direct effect on the year to come. And just as champagne and kissing at midnight are longstanding rituals in the U.S., there are a wide variety of traditions unique to different countries across the globe. From prizes hidden in cakes to eating 12 grapes at midnight, many of the world’s year-end traditions revolve around food and drink.
Here are a few:
Scotland’s famous Hogmanay celebrations are filled with customs. First-Footing is the tradition of gifting a bottle of whiskey to friends and family, while fireworks are a typical part of the five-day festivities in Edinburgh. Scots also traditionally bring fruitcakes, oat cakes, or shortbread to parties.
One of the best loved Danish traditions is eating kransekage, a ring-shaped marzipan cake, at midnight. Dinners are held with family and friends, with cod, cured pork, and stewed kale, as well as champagne. One of the funnier Danish traditions is the custom of tossing plates at friends’ doors — if you come home to a pile of broken dishes at your door, you’ll have good luck in the new year.
The U.S. has many different traditions that vary from region to region, but one of the best known traditions from the South is the custom of eating black eyed peas, or a dish called hoppin’ john, to bring good luck. Pork is very common across the U.S., as it symbolizes wealth and progress in the new year. In New England, it’s paired with sauerkraut, which apparently brings added luck to the meal.