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January 2017

Foods to Eat in the New Year to Bring Good Luck

Attract good luck in the new year with these food items

Can you believe it’s already 2017? For those who are looking forward to leaving 2016 behind, it’s important to start the new year off right with a positive mind. Many cultures around the world find fortune in the foods they eat, and there’s no better time to start dining for luck than at the beginning. Today we’ll take a look at popular food items revered for bringing good fortune to those who consume them.


Succulent, rich, and fatty, pork symbolizes wealth and prosperity. Even the idea of a suckling pig conjures memories of hearty feasts. Pigs are forward-moving with their snouts, mimicking progress in life. Cultures around the world celebrate new beginnings with plates of pork, from bacon to ham to tender ribs.


Scales represent coins, and so fish is deemed a culinary item of good fortune. As with pigs, the forward movement of fish represents progress. Additionally, their omega-3s bring longevity for those who consume them as well.


Even the Ancient Romans consumed for luck, which is why they chowed down on lentils, legumes that resemble Roman coins. Similarly, in the United States, black-eyed peas are similarly eaten for good luck as they resemble coinage too.


For those more interested in bills over coins, leafy greens are a wonderful choice for the new year. Flat and green, they look like paper money. Opt for some nice, flat, healthy kale for some extra luck.

Corn bread

Corn bread is a popular item that also looks like something of remarkable value: gold. Bake it with whole kernels of corn inside to represent gold nuggets. The savory and sweet bread can be wonderfully paired with other lucky items like barbecued pork.


Countries such as Spain, Portugal, and Mexico have the tradition of eating 12 grapes right as midnight strikes. While it sounds fun and simple, cramming so many grapes into one’s mouth can be tricky. Consuming grapes throughout the start of the new year is a good practice as well, because, even if it doesn’t bring luck per se, grapes carry plenty of healthy antioxidants.


Greeks smash pomegranates on floors to expose their seeds, a symbol of prosperity and luck. Be sure to find one heavy with seeds, because the more you uncover, the luckier you’ll be. The seeds are also great sources of fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, and other nutrients.


Asian cultures enjoy oodles of long noodles to represent longevity. Don't cut or break them, or you’ll ruin the effect. Some people go as far as not chewing them, but that just might cut your life short, ironically.


Besides being delicious, doughnuts, and other ring-shaped foods like bagels, symbolise the year coming back to its start. Circles are important symbols in folklore and mythology, representing perpetualness and the life-death-rebirth cycle. As we all learned from cartoon lions in 1994, the circle of life is what moves us all.


Cake is good luck because it's, well, cake. Some traditions hide coins or items inside their respective desserts, bringing luck to anyone who bites into them (so long as they don't break a tooth).

What food dishes does your country eat for good fortune in the new year? Let us know on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” TELC English for more articles on culture from around the world!

Picture: (c) Fotolia, Maksim Shebeko