Happy New Year from Anderson Shumaker! In our last few holiday blog posts, we’ve focused on holiday traditions. Consequently, we’ve talked a lot about food. Special dishes – sometimes served only once a year – are an integral part in new year holiday traditions and celebrations. For example, many Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving, hotdogs for July 4th, and fish or ham for Christmas Day. As an AS9001D certified company, Anderson Shumaker is part of a global forging community. We celebrated the holidays last week with traditions all across the world. However, this time we’ll help you celebrate by highlighting unique New Year holiday traditions in dishes and culinary customs.
New Year Holiday Traditions: Food & Culinary Customs from Around the World
- Hoppin’ John (American South): If you want good luck in the new year, then eat a big plate of Hoppin’ John on January 1st. Hoppin’ John consists of rice, black-eyed peas, onions, and smoked pork. The black-eyed peas symbolize coins (wealth), and it’s tradition to hide a coin under each plate. Some people even leave 3 peas on each plate to ensure a year of romance, fortune, and good luck.
- Grapes (Spain & Latin America): At the stoke of midnight, Spaniards eat 12 grapes (one for each clock stoke). The grapes represent good luck in the year. But, you have to eat them fast; if you don’t finish before midnight, you’ll have bad luck for an entire year.
- Longevity Noodles & Sweet Rice Cakes (China & Japan): On New Year’s Eve, Chinese and Japanese households feast on long noodle dishes. The noodles represent good health, prosperity, and longevity. Families also make rice cakes (or rice cake balls) to start the year on a sweet note.
- King Cake (Multiple Cultures): While they are traditionally associated with the Creole culture in America, king cakes are actually popular in many cultures across the world. A king cake is a sweet that contains a hidden treasure. For example, the treasure is often a coin or a figurine. The person who finds the treasure wins a prize or is blessed with good fortune for the new year.
- Anything But Poultry (Nigeria): Chickens scratch backwards for food, so if you want a new year moving forward, avoid eating poultry on New Year’s Day in Nigeria. Instead, Nigerians traditionally eat fish, lentils, and coconut candy to celebrate the new year.
- Pickled Herring (Poland & Scandinavia): This little silver fish is eaten at the stroke of midnight. It is believed to bring bounty and prosperity to the entire household. Pickled herring is served many ways (itself or served with onions and cured meats).
- Raisins (Brazil): If you want a New Year full of wealth, then it’s tradition to eat 7 raisins in Brazil. If you put the seeds in your wallet, it will never be empty.
- Wreath Cake (Denmark & Norway): Wreath cake is a sweet cake make with marzipan. As its name implies, a wreath cake is a stacked tower of concentric rings that create a triangular funnel. Often in the cake’s center is a hidden bottle of sweet wine. The wine is then drank for a New Year’s toast.
- Cotechino con lenticchie (Italy): This lentil and sausage stew bring good fortune and luck to all who eat it. Just like the Hoppin’ John, the lentils represent coins. Some family feast on zampone too, which is a stuffed pig’s trotter (pig foot).
- Potatoes (Peru): Potatoes come from Peru, and they are a central part of a Peruvian New Year’s tradition. However, people do not eat these holiday potatoes. One potato is peeled (no money), one is left intact (wealth), and the last is partially peeled (no change in wealth). The host hides the potatoes under chairs. As guests take their seats, the potato they find underneath symbolizes their ahead. But don’t worry; if you get the seat with the peeled potato, you can eat 12 grapes by midnight to invite good luck into the year ahead.
However you celebrate your New Year’s holiday, we wish you and your family happiness, health, and good luck for all of 2020!
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