If you’d like to get yourself some good juju for 2012, here are ten ways to eat for luck on New Year’s Day.
2. Seek out ring-shaped food for breakfast. Consider bagels or doughnuts for breakfast (don’t you always?), which represent not only carby deliciousness, but also the year coming full circle.
3. Down some pig. Lots of people consider pork to be the luckiest of all foods to eat on New Year’s Day. Why? Pigs are rotund, which represents prosperity (not, as it turns out, weight gain). They also “root forward” with their noses, which is supposed to symbolize progress. You can choose to eat your lucky pig any which way, including ham, sausage, whole roasted suckling pig, ham hocks, bacon, pancetta…sorry, where was I?
4. Smash a pomegranate on the floor. (And waste a perfectly good piece of fruit?) In Greece, when the new year turns, a pomegranate is smashed on the floor in front of the door to break it open and reveal seeds symbolizing prosperity and good fortune. The more seeds, the more luck.
5. Roast whole fish for lunch. Fish are lucky in three ways: their scales resemble coins, they travel in schools, which represents prosperity, and they swim forward, symbolizing progress. This option has the added benefit of complying with whatever New Year’s dietary resolutions you’ve likely made.
6. Slurp soba noodles without breaking them. In Japan, long buckwheat noodles symbolize long life, and are therefore lucky–but only if you eat them without chewing or breaking them. So get your slurping technique down.
7. Nosh on greens. They resemble paper money, and who doesn’t want more money next year? Everything from cabbage to kale to your Mesclun salad mix applies here.
8. Whip up a batch of Hoppin’ John. This dish of black-eyed peas and rice is customary for New Year’s Day in the American south, where black-eyed peas are considered auspicious based on their resemblance to coins.
9. Cook some lentils. Can you guess what lentils resemble? Money! Yes, these coin-shaped legumes are lucky in Brazil and Italy, and are said to have been eaten for luck since the Roman times.
10. Bake a coin into a cake. The second Greek tradition on our list, this involves a special lemon-flavored cake called a vasilopita baked with a coin inside (again with the money!). Whoever finds the coin gets a year of good luck. That, or a chipped tooth.