Make Your New Year Lucky With These Foods

Check out these lucky New Year foods eaten from around the world!

Are there foods that bring on good (or even bad!) luck?

According to Turkish, and some say Greek, tradition, pomegranate seeds symbolize prosperity and good fortune. On New Year’s Day, a pomegranate is traditionally smashed on the floor, just inside the front door, to reveal its lucky seeds.

Pork products (chops; ribs; bacon; ham; sausage; pancetta; etc.) are said to represent prosperity, given the pig’s substantial girth. Pigs also use their prominent proboscis to root forward, symbolizing progress.

bacon wrapped asparagus on plate
Bacon wrapped asparagus

In Italy, the lucky lentil is coveted, reportedly since the days of ancient Rome, because of its resemblance to coins. Brazil also loves legumes for the same reason. In the American South, black-eyed peas carry the coin connotation.

Some say eating greens, because they are the color of money, will portent good fortune. Even if they don’t, it never hurts to err on the side of good health with heaping portions of broccoli, kale, collard greens, and spinach!

Creamed spinach counts as “greens”

Japan promotes consuming soba (long buckwheat) noodles to ensure long life, but only if swallowed without chewing or otherwise breaking them in any way.

Noodle Month with Asian noodles on a brown wooden plate
Soba noodles

Ring-shaped foods like bagels and donuts are said to promote luck, possibly because they represent coming full circle. Even if they don’t end up bringing you fame and fortune, surely your taste buds will feel lucky.

Because of its bright yellow color, eating cornbread is said to symbolize the acquisition of gold.

In China, tangerines represent good luck and oranges symbolize wealth. In Vietnam, red means luck, so be sure to indulge in foods like watermelon, apples, beets, cherries and the like.

Grains, including rice, barley, oats, and quinoa swell when cooked, symbolizing growth and abundance.

Tex Mex Quinoa

Skip The Lobster and Chicken?

You might want to skip the wings for New Year’s…

According to legend and lore, and especially at the beginning of the year, some cultures believe consuming poultry is not recommended because it can fly away, taking all your luck with it. Chicken is said to be especially avoided as, unlike the pig, it scratches backwards, bringing setbacks. While most fish swim forward and their silvery scales are redolent of money, lobsters swim backwards so the taboo chicken rule is said to apply to them.

Grapes in a glass

And don’t forget the grapes! In Spain, and many Latin cultures, it is believed that eating 12 grapes on New Year’s Eve—one for each stroke of midnight—will bring luck throughout the coming year.

And, contrary to what your mother may have taught you, some cultures believe that leaving food on your plate is a good thing — signifying you will never be without. So much for those of us who are lifelong members of the clean plate club!

Happy New Year!

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Beth Herman

Beth Herman is a freelance writer with interests in healthy living and food, family, animal welfare, architecture and design, religion, and yoga. She writes for a variety of national and regional publications, institutions, and websites.

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We always have pork and collards, cornbread, black eyed peas with stewed tomatos

Nancy Marrison

How about Black-eyed peas? It has always been a good luck item for New Years in our family.


We have always done this too. Even sneaking cabbage into mashed potatoes when the kids were little and wouldn’t eat it. Lol


Our lucky tradition is you have to eat cooked cabbage on new years day. This is a German tradition i believe. Darned if i know if it works but we have it every year even if it sounds silly.

Ellen Campbell

I always prepare a corned beef & cabbage dinner for my family on St.Patrick’s Day, but I understand this tradition began not in Ireland, but with Irish immigrants in New York.

Amy V.

Randy Lee, lucky for ME if I can come help you eat it!

Randy Lee

How Corned Beef, Cabbage, and red potatoes, the traditional meal for St Patricks day<
How lucky is that!!!

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