9 Traditional New Year’s 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.

friends toasting champagne glasses at a new years dinner table with food to bring good luckFOXYS_FOREST_MANUFACTURE/GETTY IMAGES

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.

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

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pork sliced on a plate
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Because pork can be such rich and fatty meat (hello, bacon!), it can represent success in the coming year—making it a fitting New Year’s Day food for good luck. 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 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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Black-Eyed Peas

Several theories exist to explain the tie between black-eyed peas and New Year’s Day. While we’re unlikely to tease out the precise origin, one thought is that enslaved peoples enjoyed this ingredient when the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863. Now, generations later, the same food is enjoyed every New Year’s Day.

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

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Leafy Greens

The luck behind leafy greens comes from their appearance—the color and shape are 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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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 for many cultures—including folks in Turkey and Brazil.

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

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Ring-Shaped Foods

Ring-shaped baked goods such as cakes, bagels and doughnuts are often eaten on New Year’s Day to bring a year of luck full circle. Sometimes, a coin, trinket or whole nut gets put 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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Eating grapes for good luck is a popular traditional New Year’s Day food in Spain. 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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Whole Fish

Whole fish is often served as a traditional New Year’s Day food; 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 learned a ton about the nitty-gritty of food and nutrition while earning her master’s degree in food science. She worked for a well-known baby food company and a company responsible for many favorite snack foods before transitioning to being a stay-at-home mom. She loves writing about complicated food science concepts in an understandable way and as a Taste of Home contributor, Grace covers a little bit of everything, from vintage recipes to must-have holiday foods and treats.