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New Year’s Day Foods to Eat for Good Luck

All over the world, people eat different foods on New Year's to bring good luck in the coming months. Read on to learn more about these traditional New Year's Day foods.


Do your New Year’s traditions include lucky New Year’s Day foods? From grapes to long noodles, there’s a whole list of foods considered lucky in different countries.

In the U.S., southerners eat black-eyed peas to bring good luck in the coming year, while Italians consider lentils to be symbols of good fortune—and those are just two examples. Embrace the superstitions and bring a little luck your way by including these good luck New’s Years foods in your New Year’s menu.

Plan ahead so you can pick up all the ingredients you need for the holiday at once. Take a peek at our New Year’s dinner ideas and New Year’s Day brunch recipes if you’re serving sit-down meals for your celebrations. If you’re hosting a party and need a spread of New Year’s Eve appetizers, check out our best New Year’s Eve food ideas and quick and easy New Year’s Eve party foods.

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pappardelle homemade pasta typical italian close upphilipimage/iStock/Getty Images Plus


Noodles can signify a long life, but only if they make it into the mouth before breaking! This is a New Year’s tradition in many Asian countries. Soba noodles are especially important in Japan, as their buckwheat flour base is a symbol of resiliency.

Here are a few recipes with long noodles to keep in mind for your New Year’s menu. Take care to keep the noodles in tact!

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Because pork can be such a rich and fatty meat (hello, bacon!), it can represent success in the coming year—which is why it makes such a fitting New Year’s Day food. Further, pigs are animals that continuously push forward as they eat (unlike chickens, which move backward), symbolizing the potential for progress.

Try one of our pork recipes in the coming year:

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Lentils and spoon in a wooden bowl close up on an old table.SMarina/Shutterstock


Lentils are another legume that gets attention on New Year’s Day. Their resemblance to ancient Roman coins (brown, shiny and round) make them a symbol of good fortune in Italian homes, and they’re most often served with that other notable luck-bringer, pork.

Try one of our best lentil recipes:

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Taste of Home

Black-Eyed Peas

Though several theories exist to explain why black-eyed peas are a traditional New Year’s Day food for southerners, the prevailing notion dates back to the Civil War. The legumes were considered animal food, but when the Confederate troops were starving after being raided by the Union soldiers, those black-eyed peas saved the day and their lives. Talk about lucky!

Here are some black-eyed peas recipes that are sure bring you some luck:

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Fresh salad plate with mixed greens (arugula, mesclun, mache) on dark wooden background top view. Healthy food. Green meal.; Shutterstock ID 534979237; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHElenadesign/Shutterstock

Leafy Greens

The luck behind leafy greens comes from their appearance—the color and shape is thought to resemble folded money, making them symbolic of wealth and prosperity. It’s the same reason why people eat cabbage on New Year’s Day. Southerners often pair them with the aforementioned black-eyed peas to double their chances of a good year!

Here are some ways to get more greens in your meal. Start with these recipes:

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Half pomegranate and raw pomegranates on a white wooden background; Shutterstock ID 228369412OZMedia/Shutterstock


Pomegranates may not be on your list of good luck New Year’s foods, but they should be! Not only does their vibrant red color represent life and fertility, but those plentiful round seeds are an emblem of prosperity.

Consider these pomegranate recipes. One of them is even one of our favorite New Year’s drinks:

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Vallery Lomas for Taste of Home

Ring-Shaped Foods

Ring-shaped baked goods such as cakes, bagels and doughnuts are often eaten on New Year’s Day in an effort to bring a year of luck full circle. Sometimes, a coin, trinket or whole nut is slipped into the batter, and whoever discovers it in their piece is supposedly blessed with extra good fortune!

Here are just a few ring-shaped recipes to keep in mind as you choose which New Year’s party foods are best for your celebration:

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Black grape bunches Grenache variety in the foregroundSerjunco/Shutterstock


There’s a popular tradition in Spain in which grapes are eaten for luck. Superstitious folks believe that consuming 12 grapes in the 12 seconds after the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve will ensure 12 months of good things in the coming year. Why risk the opposite?

Consider these grape recipes:

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Delicious grilled sea bream fish with rosemary, lemon and peppercorns on wooden background. Culinary healthy cooking.; Shutterstock ID 577296571; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHVictoria43/Shutterstock

Whole Fish

Whole fish is often served on New Year’s Day; the head and tail are included so the year is lucky from start to finish. Further, their shiny scales are reminiscent of coins, a promise of wealth in the new year.

Here are a few whole fish recipes:

Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.