Top 5 Southerners New Year's Food Traditions

Most Southerner's wouldn't dare allow the New Year to pass without eating some kind of pork, a big ole mess o' black-eyed peas and greens of some kind. 

Ever wonder why Southerners eat certain foods to ring in the new year? Or, what are the traditional foods that make up a Southern New Year's menu and how they came to be? Check out our Top 5 to find out!

1.  black eyed peas

Living in the South, it is a requirement in almost every Southern household to eat black eyed peas on New Year's Day.  The tradition of black-eyed peas for Southerners is believed to have originated back during Civil War times when Sherman's soldiers raided Southern homes, taking virtually all of the food and burning the crops, but mostly ignoring the fields of black-eyed peas.  Black Eyed peas are said to bring luck in the coming year, with many traditions holding that you must eat at least 365 of them.

2.  greens (collard, mustard or turnip)

Want to gain wealth? Here in the south, collard greens bring the money in the new year.  Most southerners will tell you that eating greens on New Year's will insure prosperity.  The greens leaves are representative of money

3.  cornbread

Corn bread represents pocket money or spending money. It's another soul food we eat on New Year's. The tradition stems from the color of the bread. It's color represented "gold" or "coin" money. Plus, it goes well with collard greens, peas and pork.

4.  hoppin' john

Hoppin' John is standard fare here in the south.  The first recipes for Hoppin’ John appeared in cookbooks that date back to the 1840s, although the mixture of dried peas, rice and pork was made by Southern slaves long before then. It seems to have originated in the Low Country of South Carolina, an area where plantation owners searched long and hard for a crop that would flourish in the hot, muggy weather.

5.  pork

Pork signifies abundance and plenty of food.  Pigs also root forward into the ground, which symbolizes progress.The more pork in your meal, the more luck you will have. So don’t just use ham hock and fatback to flavor your veggies; eat a baked ham or pork chops as a main dish.