First-day celebration is global tradition

On New Year’s Day, Black American families around the country will sit down to eat a variation on green vegetables and cowpeas, joining in an enduring tradition meant to usher in opportunity in the year ahead.

“I don’t let a New Year’s Day go by without having some form of greens, pork and black-eyed peas,” food historian Jessica Harris said.

The choice of greens, usually cooked with pork for flavor, comes from the perception among Black Americans that folded collard greens look like paper money, said Adrian Miller, an author and food scholar. Eating greens on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day is believed to bring about greater financial prosperity. The peas promise good luck, health and abundance.

But although these rituals have become largely associated with the American South, their roots can be traced back to the meeting of West African and European traditions, Miller said. Collard greens,

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Can eating cabbage bring luck in the new year? Families share the food traditions they use to ring in the new.

Traditional New Year's foods like cabbage, slow-cooked pork and long noodles are thought to bring luck and prosperity in the coming year. (Photo: Getty Creative)

Traditional New Year’s foods like cabbage, slow-cooked pork and long noodles are thought to bring luck and prosperity in the coming year. (Photo: Getty Creative)

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, and there’s no time during the year where that sentiment is more true than the holidays. This is the time when treasured dishes are made, champagne bottles are uncorked and friends gather to swap cookies … and stories. One of the most celebratory times is ringing in the new year: when New Year’s Eve sweeps the old year away and New Year’s Day brings plans for a fresh start.

The coming of a new year brings plenty of food traditions said to bring good vibes, including black-eyed peas and greens to bring wealth and cabbage for luck. But what is it about our love of food and traditions that brings about our deeply personal celebratory

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