By Ava Cunningham


In Germany, there are a couple of traditional foods eaten on New Year’s Day. The first is pork and sauerkraut. The cabbage of the sauerkraut is made in long strands to symbolize a long life with prosperity. The pork, being from a pig, symbolizes moving forward and on into the next year. The other food eaten in Germany is a pretzel. This is supposed to be good luck and is usually topped with something sweet rather than salty.


In Spain, there is the tradition called the Doce Uvas de la Suerte, which means the twelve lucky grapes. One grape is eaten at each chime of the clock on midnight of New Year’s Eve. This is supposed to give you luck in the coming year if you manage to eat all twelve because they symbolize the twelve months of the year. If you don’t finish all your grapes, you might have bad luck!

Poland, Northern Europe

The tradition common for these places is to eat pickled herring. The silver of the fish represents fortune and money and the fish itself represents long life and fertility. The tradition started in the Middle Ages when there was an abundance of the fish and is supposedly good luck.

Italy, Syria

The food that brings good luck in Italy and Syria is lentils. They are symbols of prosperity and are usually eaten with pork.


The tradition of a King Cake is common in Louisiana and other parts of the US. This is a sweet cake in the shape of a ring with icing and colorful sprinkles on top. Inside the cake, a trinket is hidden and whoever finds it is crowned the King or Queen. The trinket could be anything from a coin to a small plastic baby. They are commonly eaten on January 6th rather than on New Year’s because it celebrates the day when baby Jesus was given gifts by the Magi.

Southern US

This tradition was started by african-american slaves and this time of year was a celebration because they didn’t have to work. They would make a meal called Hoppin’ John that was made with black-eyed peas, rice, and pork. The peas are supposed to look like coins and bring good luck for the new year.


In Mexico, it is common to eat tamales over the holidays. The celebrations start on December 12th, the Feast of the Lady of Guadalupe, and last until January 6th, Three Kings Day. They symbolize family and coming together. For most families, making tamales is a group effort and everyone pitches in.


Soba Noodles are a common food eaten in Japan on New Year’s Eve. The full name is toshikoshi soba and “toshikoshi” is a word that means “jumping from the old year to the new”. The long noodles represent a healthy, long life and bring good luck.

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