Good Luck Food for New Year’s from Around the World

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If you’re looking for a change in fortune, luck, health, or longevity, you need to ring in the new year with at least one of the options on this list of good luck food for New Year’s! See how cultures around the world eat to usher in a good fortune for the new year!

good luck food for Chinese New Year with oranges, spring rolls, and other foods on red and gold tablecloth

Must Eat Good Luck Food for New Year’s!

Did you know different cultures believe certain foods have the power to bring good luck, fortune, and longevity?? Is it true, or is it just folklore? We will never know. Many cultures swear by eating certain foods to make sure they start the year off on the best foot possible and what they eat is just fascinating!

Having lived in three different countries and continents, I know firsthand that food is as varied as the people in our vast world. If you’re as curious as I am about what different cultures eat, you will be surprised by this list of lucky food!

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Black eyed peas ready to soak and be ate for luck this new year

Lucky New Year’s Food from the Southern United States

In the Southern USA, a favorite good luck food is black-eyed peas. The peas are often served in a dish called Hoppin’ John. Collard greens and cornbread are also good luck staples on US tables.

An old southern saying is “peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.” If you want good luck in the new year, eat these delicious dishes from the southern US states!

bowl of steaming soba noodles for a lucky New Year garnished with green onions

Luck and Longevity in Japan with Soba Noodles

Japanese people think soba noodles are considered lucky. When we lived in Okinawa, we loved soba soup. This rich, brothy deliciousness was a bit like Pho but with long flour-based noodles instead of rice noodles. In mainland Japan, soba noodles are traditionally made from buckwheat flour, but they’re different in Okinawa.

Why are soba noodles considered lucky? The traditional buckwheat soba noodle is considered lucky because buckwheat can thrive in harsh growing conditions. Also, the long shape of the noodles represents long life! If longevity is a goal, add Japanese soba noodles to your new year’s lineup!

Whether you eat the traditional buckwheat soba or the flour-based Okinawan soba noodle, we think they are a great way to start the new year.

cabbage for good luck in the new year
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Pork, Cabbage, and Lentils are Prosperous New Year’s Food

German New Year’s traditions include cabbage, pork, and lentils eaten alongside friends and family. Pennsylvania Dutch colonies in the US also eat these good luck foods. Cabbage is thought to represent money because it is crisp and green. 🙂

Germans and Italians think the size and shape of lentils resemble coins. So if prosperity is one of your goals for the new year, make sure to add a few lentils to your first meal of the next year.

halved oranges, persimmons, pomegranates, and apples in a gardening box with sprigs of greenery

New Year’s Lucky Fruits: Grapes, Pomegranates, and Oranges

Fruit is considered a lucky new year’s food in many countries around the world. For the best of luck, make sure to eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. This Spanish tradition is also observed in Mexico. The 12 grapes represent the 12 months of the year; supposedly, for every sour grape you may eat, you should expect a rocky month! If you decide to try this tradition, make sure to buy only sweet grapes.

In China and other Asian countries, round citrus-like tangerines and oranges are considered lucky. The theme with lucky food seems to be that the shape, color, or size resembles money. The golden color of citrus fruit represents wealth and good luck! Citrus fruits also wards off bad luck.

Pomegranates are a favorite fruit at our house and also in Greece. While we like them a lot, I’m not sure we’ll try the Greek tradition of smashing a pomegranate at the house entrance to usher in good luck. Have you ever opened a pomegranate? They can make a huge mess, even though they are delicious.

fried fish with lemons and onions in a cast iron skillet

Eat Fish for the Luckiest New Year

Fish is considered lucky in a lot of countries for many different reasons. The luckiest type of fish for the holiday season to eat is the whole fish (head, tail, and all) and not fish fillets.

The scales remind Germans of money, making them lucky for prosperity. I don’t remember this from my many years in Germany, but some Germans supposedly keep fish scales in their wallet all year to stay lucky. It sounds pretty stinky to me!!

The fact that fish swim forward symbolizes moving forward in the new year. This makes me laugh, honestly. Don’t most animals move forward? Don’t eat seafood that moves backward or sideways, like lobster or crab. And you might want to avoid bottom-dwelling fish like catfish if you’re superstitious.

Now that you know a bit more about some of the cultural traditions surrounding food for the new year, here are several recipes you can try!

Foods for Good Luck in the New Year

Ring in the New Year and eat some delicious foods that bring you good luck, health, prosperity and money for the coming year!

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I’m wishing you a fortune-filled New Year! Let me know if you try any of these recipes for good luck food for New Year’s and if they worked!

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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