New Year's Eve

28 Dishes to Make for Good Luck in 2016

December 28, 2015

It's difficult not to feel a little superstitious at the start of a new year—once the Champagne has been popped and the ball has dropped, there's an entire year to face! While this is exciting, it's also a little scary, which is likely why so many cultures have customs that revolve around eating food for good luck in the new year.

In many Asian countries, people eat long noodles to symbolize longevity and the Spanish and Portuguese eat 12 grapes at midnight for each month of the upcoming year. And despite being neither Southern nor Jewish, my mom invites our neighbors and friends over every New Year's day to eat black-eyed peas (that custom is said to originate from Rosh Hashanah traditions thousands of years ago!). Just in case, she says. This New Years, cover your bases with these 28 foods for good luck in 2016:

Long noodles for longevity (eaten in China, Japan, and other Asian countries):

Grapes for good luck for each month (eaten in Spain and Portugal):

Pork for progress (eaten in Hungary and Austria):

Pomegranate for prosperity (eaten—or rather, smashed on the ground—in Greece):

Black-eyed peas for humility and good fortune (eaten in the South):

Lentils for growing wealth (eaten in Italy):

Whole fish for abundance (eaten in China):

What do you eat for luck on New Year's? Do you follow any of these traditions? Tell us in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Anna Bell
    Anna Bell
  • Ann Rubin
    Ann Rubin
  • Kim Pendergraft
    Kim Pendergraft
  • Rose Wolny
    Rose Wolny
  • Jonah Klein
    Jonah Klein
I eat everything.


Anna B. January 1, 2016
I make an annual much anticipated trip to Penn Station for a Rueben. Since I'm on my own, I get to eat corned beef and sauerkraut w/o having to make a big meal! Would go more often to Penn Station, just a bit pricey for me.
Ann R. December 31, 2015
I cover these bases by always making Edna Lewis' "black-eyed Peas w/Onions, Garlic, & Tomato" from "In Pursuit of Flavor":

It isn't flashy, but pretty much comes under that ur/"genius" recipe category, dependent on the quality of your ingredients, etc. I have it clipped from when it ran in "Cooks Illustrated", 12/88. In that version she calls for 2 tomatoes or a 16 oz can of whole tomatoes. I always add more parsley than she calls for....
Kim P. December 31, 2015
Black-eyed peas for luck, greens for money and pork (usually leftover ham from Christmas) for prosperity!
Rose W. December 31, 2015
We always had pork and sauerkraut for good luck and prosperity, and sardines for good health. Polish custom.
Jonah K. December 31, 2015
Beans and greens--slow-cooked collard greens and kale served with hoppin John. We also serve sausages with the meal. According to my dad, the greens and sausage represent prosperity (greens for money and slices of sausage represent coins) and supposedly one good thing will happen to you in the New Year for each black-eyed-pea you eat.
Erin Y. December 31, 2015
In Polska tradition, it is sauerkraut, usually with kielbasa, and my family always made mashed potatoes as well.
Joan W. December 31, 2015
My family has always eaten pickled herring.
Karen December 31, 2015
We do this, too! For those who hesitate, we often put just a dab on a cracker for them to eat! Never found anyone else who does this one! Happy New Year!
Diana W. December 31, 2015
We have always had herring too! A tiny bite on a toothpick was enough. But then there was the year I was compelled to finish the jar. The next week we found out that we were going to have our first child. Lucky indeed! Happy New Year!!
Pat December 31, 2015
We ate herring, too, although it didn't have to be pickled (kippers were fine). We were told it was an old Danish custom for good luck in the new year
Carla December 31, 2015
Collard greens Cooked with a big ham bone...a must for prosperity in the New Year. Of course the blackeye peas for luck and chicken and dumplings..the flat kind..not biscuits on stew...for humility.
terri K. December 29, 2015
Top ramen, pork hock in red beans, fried zucchini, chicken nuggets, bagels and cream cheese, and grapes at midnight
kimikoftokyo December 28, 2015
I don't like pumpkin nor certian beans so I am eating noodles!! With friends at a Ramen shop to the exact
Maureen M. December 28, 2015
My family always ate pickled herring - but I much prefer my inlaws tradition - 12 grapes ...
Stephanie S. December 28, 2015
In Haiti, pumpkin soup aka "soup Joumou" it was eaten by the ancestors after the slave revolt and is supposed to bring good fortune in the new year...eaten by Haitians all over the world on January 1st.