In the South, New Year’s Day is delicious and foreshadows a year of good luck. Traditional fare for the day includes pork, greens or cabbage, black-eyed peas, and cornbread.
These dishes are year-round staples in most homes below the Mason Dixon line. They are believed to bring good luck when featured on the plates of lunch and dinner on the first day of the new year.
Southerner's have a standing New Year's Day tradition of eating “peas for pennies, greens for dollars and cornbread for gold.”
The practice of eating black-eyed peas for the first day of the year is believed to date back to the Civil War.
During the pre-war era, black-eyed peas were planted for livestock and eaten by slaves, therefore the fields of peas were ignored by Sherman's troops when they took or destroyed other crops.
The protein enriched black-eyed pea became a main staple in the Confederate soldier's diet.
Adding a shiny penny or dime to the pot just before serving is another tradition practiced by some. The person whose bowl contains the coin will receive the best luck for the new year.
Black-eyed peas eaten with stewed tomatoes represents wealth and health.
Greens — collard, mustard or turnip — or cabbage also appears on the Southerner's New Year's Day plate to represent paper money.
Cornbread is often served to represent gold.
Pork, or hog jowls, are traditionally eaten in the South to ensure health, prosperity and progress.
Hogs and pigs have long been symbols of prosperity and gluttony.
Some cultures believe the bigger the pig, or the more hog you eat on New Year's Day, the bigger your wallet will be in the new year.
The more you eat, the better your new year is expected to be.