The New Year offers us the opportunity to forget our mistakes of the last 12 months and start with a fresh slate. Whether you believe in luck, fate, or plain old hard work, why not stack the cards in your favor. Cultures from around the world have their own “lucky charms” to help ring in the New Year.
A tradition that dates back to 1909, the Spaniard’s consume 12 grapes at midnight, representing one grape for each stroke of the clock. Each grape represents a different month, so you want each grape to be as sweet and palatable as possible.
Eating pork on New Year’s relates back to the idea that pigs symbolize progress. The pig pushes forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving. Cuba, Spain, Austria and Hungary all consume pig, but in the United States, due to the pigs rich fat content, indulging in pork signifies wealth and prosperity.
Fish has been a popular feast food since the Middle Ages. It adorns tables in Poland, Germany and Japan. Roe is consumed for fertility, shrimp for long life and dried sardines for a good harvest.
In certain cultures, it’s tradition to hide a coin or special trinket inside a cake – the recipient will be lucky in the New Year. In Sweden and Norway they hide a whole almond in rice pudding and whoever finds the nut is guaranteed great fortune in the New Year.
However, you decide to bring in the New Year, being around friends and family is the sweetest tradition of all!