Welcoming a new year comes with lots of celebrating and plenty of traditions. Many of those traditions involve food and beverages that somehow seem to end up on our clothes. Now, most folks will tell you not to do laundry on New Year's Day due to superstitions; but come January 2nd it will be time to tackle the stains.
I've put together a list of seven lucky and traditional foods from different cultures eaten on New Year's Day. These foods are staid to improve the odds that your next year will be a great one. The six major categories of lucky foods are grapes, greens, fish, pork, legumes and cakes. I've added Champagne because it is the traditional toasting beverage in the United States. So, when you are working on the stains you can amaze your friends and family with a bit of information!
Baked goods and cakes are traditional foods for the holiday season and are found in most cultures. There seems to be a special emphasis on the luck of a round or ring-shaped cake. Italy has chiacchiere, which are honey-drenched balls of pasta dough fried and dusted with powdered sugar. Poland and Hungary also enjoy doughnuts while and the Netherlands has oliebollen, a puffy, doughnut-like pastry filled with apples, raisins, and currants.
In some cultures, a special trinket or coin is hidden inside the cake. The finder will be lucky in the new year. Mexico's rosca de reyes is a ring-shaped cake decorated with candied fruit and baked with one or more surprises inside. In Greece, a special round cake called vasilopita is baked with a coin hidden inside. At midnight or after the New Year's Day meal, the cake is cut with the first piece going to St. Basil and the rest being distributed to guests in order of age.
In Scotland, where New Year's is called Hogmanay, there is a tradition called "first footing," in which the first person to enter a home after the new year determines what kind of year the residents will have. The "first footer" often brings symbolic gifts like coal to keep the house warm or baked goods such as shortbread, oat cakes, and a fruit cake called black bun, to make sure the household always has food. If you are baking or just eating, follow these links to remove the stains:
Champagne is the traditional New Year's Eve drink. But why? Until the French Revolution, most important occasions were marked by religious ceremonies. But after the Revolution, champagne replaced Holy Water as secular activities grew in popularity. The tradition of drinking champagne to mark celebrations originated in the royal courts of Europe prior to 1789, where the expensive drink was viewed as a status symbol. By the late nineteenth century, drinking champagne had become a world-wide symbol of celebration.
To remove the stains of a bit too much merriment, just follow these tips:
Since the Middle Ages, serving fish for New Year's has been popular. Cod was found in the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, North Africa and the Caribbean. Cod could be easily preserved with salt and with the Catholic Church's policy against red meat consumption on religious holidays, the fish became traditional for celebrations. Herring is eaten at midnight in Poland and Germany for good luck. The Swedish New Year feast is a smorgasbord with a variety of fish dishes. And, in Japan herring roe is consumed for fertility, shrimp is eaten for long life and dried sardines produce a good harvest when eaten for the New Year.
Whether you are preparing or enjoying the New Year's fish, you can remove the stains by following these tips:
At clock chimes of midnight, you must eat a grape with each chime to welcome in the New Year in Spain. In 1909, grape growers in the Alicante region of Spain initiated this practice to take care of a grape surplus. The idea spread to Portugal and to former Spanish and Portuguese colonies such as Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador and Peru. It is important to swallow all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight, however; Peruvians insist on taking in a 13th grape for good measure.
Each grape also represents the upcoming months. If the ninth grape is sour, September is going to be a tough month.
To take care of any tough stains, just follow the tips:
As a Southern girl, every New Year's Day table had a big bowl of collard greens. If we ate those greens, we'd have a year of folded green dollars in our pockets. Cooked greens, including cabbage, collards, kale and chard, are eaten at New Year's in different countries as a symbol of economic fortune. The Danish eat stewed kale sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon while Germans consume sauerkraut (cabbage).
Most green vegetables don't cause tough stains but the seasonings that are added do. To take care of those stains and keep some green in your pocket, just follow the links:
In the Southern United States, it's traditional to eat black-eyed peas or cowpeas in a dish called hoppin' john. There are even those who believe in eating one pea for every day in the new year. This all traces back to the legend that during the Civil War, the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, ran out of food while under attack. The residents fortunately discovered black-eyed peas and the legume was thereafter considered lucky.
Legumes including beans, peas, and lentils are also symbolic of money. Their small, seedlike appearance resembles coins that swell when cooked so they are consumed with financial rewards in mind. In Italy, it's customary to eat cotechino con lenticchieor sausages and green lentils, just after midnight—a particularly propitious meal because pork has its own lucky associations. Germans also partner legumes and pork, usually lentil or split pea soup with sausage. In Brazil, the first meal of the New Year is usually lentil soup or lentils and rice, and in Japan, the osechi-ryori, a group of symbolic dishes eaten during the first three days of the new year, includes sweet black beans.
Most legumes don't cause too many stains but when they are mixed with oil or meats, the stains will come. Learn how to remove the damage by following these tips:
The custom of eating pork on New Year's Day comes from the idea that pigs symbolize progress. Roast suckling pig is served for New Year's in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary and Austria. A variety of pork dishes such as pig's feet are enjoyed in Sweden while Germans feast on roast pork and sausages. In the United States, pork signifies a year of wealth and prosperity.
To remove the stains, just follow these tips: