As you plan out your New Year's Eve dinners and gatherings, be sure to check out this awesome list of 'lucky' New Year's foods to help bring good fortune to 2016!
1. In China, Japan and other Asian countries, it's customary to eat long noodles, signify longevity, on New Year's Day. Since the noodles are never to be broken or shortened during the cooking process, the typical preparation for "Long-Life Noodles" is a stir-fry.
2. Cakes and other baked goods are commonly served around the world, with a special emphasis placed on round or ring-shaped items. Italy has chiacchiere, which are honey-drenched balls of pasta dough fried and dusted with powdered sugar. Poland, Hungary, and the Netherlands also eat donuts, and Holland has ollie bollen, puffy, donut-like pastries filled with apples, raisins, and currants.
In certain cultures, it's customary to hide a special trinket or coin inside the cake—the recipient will be lucky in the new year. Mexico's rosca de reyes is a ring-shaped cake decorated with candied fruit and baked with one or more surprises inside. In Greece, a special round cake called vasilopita is baked with a coin hidden inside.
3. Fish are lucky in three ways: their scales resemble coins, they travel in schools, which represents prosperity, and they swim forward, symbolizing progress. This option has the added benefit of complying with whatever New Year's dietary resolutions you've likely made.
4. Mexicans pop a grape for each stroke of midnight, with each representing a page of the calendar ahead. If one is bitter, watch out for that month! Other popular fruits to eat include the pomegranates, with its many seeds standing in for prosperity, and figs, which are a symbol of fertility.
5. Lots of people consider pork to be the luckiest of all foods to eat on New Year's Day. Why? Pigs are rotund, which represents prosperity (not, as it turns out, weight gain). They also "root forward" with their noses, which is supposed to symbolize progress.
6. Though the number of pieces varies by region, eating any round fruit is a common New Year's tradition. In the Philippines, the custom calls for 13, considered a lucky number; in Europe and the U.S., it calls for 12, which represents the months in a year. In both cases, their shape, which looks like a coin, and their sweetness are the common denominators.
7. Cooked greens, including cabbage, collards, kale, and chard, are consumed at New Year's in different countries for a simple reason — their green leaves look like folded money, and are thus symbolic of economic fortune. The Danish eat stewed kale sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, the Germans consume sauerkraut (cabbage) while in the southern United States, collards are the green of choice. It's widely believed that the more greens one eats the larger one's fortune next year.
8. Beans, like greens, resemble money; more specifically, they symbolize coins. Whether you choose black beans, lentils, or black-eyes peas. Although, lentils are lucky in Brazil and Italy, and are said to have been eaten for luck since the Roman times.
9. In Germany, Poland and Scandinavia, it's believed that eating pickled herring at the stroke of midnight will ensure a year of bounty—as herring are in abundance throughout Western Europe. Also, their silvery color resembles that of coins, a good omen for future fortune.
10. A favorite throughout the year, cornbread is especially venerated as a New Year's treat in the southern United States. Why? Its color resembles that of gold. To ensure extra luck, some people add extra corn kernels, which are emblematic of golden nuggets.
11. Foods in the shape of a ring are thought to bring good luck, possibly because they symbolize "coming full circle."
And if you're curious, 'unlucky' foods to supposedly be avoided include chicken and other foul, white foods, lobsters, cut bananas, and hollow bread. (Although Snopes has a list of other 'bad luck' superstitions surrounding the new year.)
Questions or comments? Please like, share, and comment below!