So, we made it through another year, with all its stresses and joys, smiles and tears.
Everyone understands traditional dishes around Thanksgiving, Christmas and even the Fourth of July. But why New Year’s Day?
We are told, "Don’t forget to eat you greens! You'll need that money!" Let’s explore these ideas.
First, let’s start with why there is even a holiday in the first place. Before we had a set day to celebrate, the ancient people of Babylon used the sun and moon to predict everything, including the start of new seasons, and even a new year.
The ancient people would have an 11-day celebration to commemorate each new year, which they celebrated on the first day of spring.
Well, this guy named Julius Caesar came along and decided to streamline it a little bit. He created the Julian calender, which is what we still use today to measure a year.
The first day of the new year became Jan. 1. Instead of having an 11-day celebration, though, we pack it all into one night and day. We begin the year with “Auld Lang Syne,” celebrating the past years joyous memories and sending us into a new year. Then we indulge one last time during the holiday season in the drinking, sleeping and filling of our bellies to our hearts content for love, luck and happiness.
So, what are these magical foods? Black-eyed peas, beans or lentils, because they have a rounded shaped like coins for lots of money. Cabbage or greens for wealth because the are the color of money. Pork because it is a sign of prosperity and prestige in many nations. Corn or cornbread to represent gold for wealth. Rice because it swells when it cooks, representing growth. Fish (not bottom dwellers like catfish!) for fertility, luck or spiritual guidance, depending on what you are looking for.
Cakes or breads in the shape of rings for wealth, spirituality (eternal life), fertility, the year coming full circle (living it through) and even wedding bell hopes for some.
That sounds like a pretty good feast to me!
Did you know there are also things not to eat on New Year’s Day? You can't have the good without the bad, right?
Here are a few: lobster (sorry, guys) or crabs because they move sideways or backwards, keeping you in the past instead of moving into the future. Chicken or poultry because they scratch backwards and blow the dirt back with their wings searching for food, pushing you back in life and keeping you scrounging for money.
Bottom-dwelling fish, like catfish, because you will always be looking down and scraping the bottom instead of moving forward. And, no beef either because cows are stagnant, and we don’t need that in our lives right now!
It might take away some delicious choices for the day, but I think we can make the commitment for wealth and happiness for the next full year, right?
Well, I hope you have a little better understanding of these not-so-new New Year's Day food traditions.
Run over to Grandmas house or the nearest meat-and-three, or even get some pots and pans rockin’ and enjoy some food and great memories to start out the year right.
Happy New year everyone! I wish you all luck, wealth and happiness for many years to come, but let’s start with this one, OK?
After graduating from Auburn High School, Lee Eddins went to the Culinary Institute of New Orleans. He has worked for fine dining establishments in Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois and Ukraine