December 31, 2020
By Jennifer Miko
How will your family celebrate the end of 2020? New Year’s traditions mean serving special foods, holding good luck charms, making wishes, and so much more.
New Year’s Traditions
As 2020 winds to a close, families prepare special meals and share traditions to wish for good health, prosperity, and happiness in the new year.
1. Wishing for Wealth
For prosperity in the new year, hopeful people hold a coin or a dollar bill at the stroke of midnight.
2. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
In the South, black-eyed peas represent prosperity – especially for those who ingest 365 of them (for good luck on each day of the coming year) on New Year's day. The tiny legumes symbolize coins, and when served with collards, the green leafy vegetable represents paper currency. The addition of cornbread symbolizes gold.
3. Making a Fresh Start
Cleaning the house before New Year’s Day provides a clean slate and a fresh perspective on the future.
4. From Farm to Fortune
Since pigs are known to root forward, symbolizing progress. Many families feature ham as the main dish to hope for good luck. Italians typically serve lentils for holiday meals because the small green legumes resemble coins and represent prosperity.
5. Singing a Classic
At midnight, family and friends will struggle to remember the lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne.” The song, which comes from a poem written in 1788 by Scotsman Robert Burns, tells of two friends reflecting on the “old times.”
6. Endless Treats
Circular desserts are traditionally served in Mexico and Greece to represent the year coming full circle. As the clock counts down to midnight, residents in Spain ingest a grape for each month of the year. Legend warns that misfortune will result if the dozen grapes aren’t finished before the clock strikes 12.
7. Special Smooches
Kissing a loved one at the stroke of midnight keeps love in your hearts for the new year.
8. Something in the Water
In Scandinavian and Eastern European countries, pickled herring commonly appears on holiday menus. The silver color of the little fish represents fortune, while fish in general, symbolize fertility and long life.
9. Lighting the Sky
Setting off fireworks (safely) and lighting sparklers help kick off the new year with a bang!
10. Celebrating with a Twist
Pretzel lovers have the Germans to thank for the “Grosse Neujahrsbrezel.” This good luck New Year’s pretzel comes in a sweeter variety, rather than the traditional savory twist. The act of breaking the pretzel at midnight or on New Year’s day is thought to bring good luck and prosperity.
11. New Year, New You!
Kicking off the new year encourages a lot of people to make resolutions like working harder and eating healthier foods.
Good luck in 2021!