What to Eat for New Year’s Luck and Why

The first day of a new year is fresh with possibility. What changes will the next twelve months bring? What will happen in your relationships, finances, health, and career? Thinking about these topics prompts many people to set goals, dream dreams and make plans for the next year—but before you do anything else, think about this: what’s lucky when it comes to New Year’s Day?

Growing up, did you ever eat sauerkraut, black-eyed peas, collard greens, roast pork or donuts on New Year’s Day? Well, legends say that what you eat on the first day of the year can dictate what kind of luck you’ll experience in the next twelve months. Sound crazy? It may be. Then again, if eating lucky food could bring you a fresh start in the new year, wouldn’t it make sense to give it a try? If you’re up for betting on a great start to a new year, consider some of these luckiest foods and incorporate them into your New Year’s Day plans!


Leafy greens are more than good for your health. Eating them on New Year’s Day is considered a symbol for bringing in more green—i.e., the paper kind—into your life in the coming year. If that sounds like the kind of luck you’re willing to hope for, why not go all out: drink a green smoothie for breakfast, make a big salad for lunch and eat sautéed greens as a dinner side dish for good measure!


Here’s another way to boost your financial luck in the new year: eat beans. Like greens, beans symbolize money. When you eat a lot of them, you metaphorically eat bundles of coins coming your way, so why not? Make a big stew, add some cooked lentils to a salad or make your favorite hummus dip to wish for better financial returns in the new year.


It’s hard to think of a more symbolic way to wish for prosperity and plenty than with the portly, plump pig. People eat pig on New Year’s Day to let this animal’s abundance rub off on them. You can eat the pig any way you like, in bacon and eggs, ham sandwiches, sausage pizza, prosciutto-wrapped dates or you name it!


With their coin-like scales, fish is another lucky meal idea that works beautifully for celebrations and feasts. Long loved by Catholics on meat-free holidays and popular as far back as the Middle Ages for its ability to be preserved and transported, fish has been said to symbolize everything from fertility to long life.

Foods Shaped Like Rings

Ah, the circle of life. Just as one year ends, another begins, and so it goes. Start New Year’s Day with a breakfast of ring-shaped foods—bagels, doughnuts, bundt cake or the like—to symbolize the way a year comes full circle.

What will you eat this New Year’s Day—and what luck may come your way because of it? There’s only one way to find out. Try these five ideas to make your 2017 better and brighter than ever!

Kim Stigerts - Feb 6, 2018
So my question is for everyone who follows and believes in this tradition does it work?. Thank you
Dianna Burger - Dec 30, 2017
My family's always had collard greens and Blackeyed Peas, both seasoned with pork, sometimes fatback. And the tradition calls for hog jowls, but my Momma and Grandmother always made a ham, along with biscuits or cornbread, and homemade creamed potatoes and mac and cheese, and of course, sweet tea !!
So why break with tradition ? Hahaha YUMMY !!
Judy Karoglan - Dec 30, 2017
don't you mean 2018?
Jan Berry - Dec 30, 2017
We do black eyed peas and rice, collard greens and hog jowls. My Mother and her Mother always did it and so I have eaten this meal for 75 years on New Years Day. We will also have mac and cheese and sweet potatoes, either pie or soufflé. Corn bread of course. I will fry some pork chops for those who cannot do the hog jowls and maybe some fried fat back. Happy New Year to all and good luck. I guess you can tell from this menu that I am a proud Southern girl.
Deana Raymondo - Dec 28, 2017
I always make my grandma's corned beef and cabbage. After Christmas dinner I use my left over mashed potatoes to make potato pancakes and freeze them to fry up to accompany the corned beef and cabbage. It's also the one day of the year I make homemade crescent rolls.
Yummmmm! Hurry up new years day, I'm hungry!!
Judy Peterson - Dec 28, 2017
We always have Corned Beef , ham, cabbage ,blackeyed peas, carrots, cornbread, and bundt cake (flavor varies year to year).
Helen Hasler - Dec 28, 2017
I always have ribs and kraut for New year's that is what we were brought up n have carried it through the years.
La'Dene Bean - Dec 28, 2017
Greens for Money, Pork to Thrive the coming year, Black-Eyed Peas for Luck, Corn Bread to ensure gardens/farm land Produce, Yams to ensure Sustenance, Mint Tea to ensure good health. We also include the lesser knowns - Peacan Pie teaches Hard Knocks (the trials and tribulations) can be cracked, Sweet Potato Pie, reinforces the power of the Yam, Apple Pie shows how the "Seed" sown by one seed (Johnny Appleseed) far and wide benefits all generations to come. Rolls harkens to the Biblical "Distributing Bread" The five loaves did not resemble large loaves of bread such of today but were unleavened wafers of barley bread resembling small, flat pitas. The course barley bread, made a staple for the poor. Rice is the bed which hold the Luck that is the Black-Eyed Pea, so it does not wander away. There are more, however, I am certain no one wants to know them too. If you are trying to get pregnant, do not forget the Olives (Black for boy-Green for Girl)/Tomatoes/in the salad.
Lisa Lockwood - Dec 28, 2017
Greens, blackeyed peas, pork chops, and don't forget the cornbread! Oh, and bunt cake for desert❄
Laura Menzing - Dec 28, 2016
My mother was German so it was always pork and sauerkraut. She always said you eat pork for New Years because a pig doesn't walk backwards and you always want to move forward in the new year.
Mattie Hughes - Dec 28, 2016
Now i was told to eat Black eye peas,Collard greens,and hog jowels for money and luck so i will stick with what i always eat because i don,t believe in luck only God.
Maria * - Dec 28, 2016
Nancy Patrykus's "Vasilopita" is very similar to the Greek traditional New Year's cake!

Saint Vasilios is the Greek version of Santa Claus. And while the internationally known Santa delivers his presents on Christmas Eve, Saint Vasilios waits a few days and delivers the presents on New Year’s Day. Usually small presents or monies are left in the pair of shoes left outside the childrens door (of thier rooms).

Hence the Vasilios cake, or vasilopita in Greek: a sweet, round cake in which the head of the family ceremoniously cuts at the turn of the year. Each piece is designated to members of the family and the first three pieces are offered in order to Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Saint Vasilios, while the fourth piece goes to the family home or family business. The rest goes to family members in order of age. Inside the cake there is a hidden coin, that will go to the lucky person who gets that piece.
karen proctor - Dec 28, 2016
I do the greens, beans, and pork .
sabrina s lang - Dec 28, 2016
I do the Greens, Pig and BlackEyed Peas