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Food Celebrations for the New Year (From All Over the World!)

Happy almost 2022! Wow, we made it through another year. Here’s to hoping that you were able to find instances of joy and relaxation throughout 2021, and to carry that into the new year. The start of a new year can bring a lot of talk about resolutions and making changes, and a lot of it can sound pretty negative at times. If you are looking for some non-diet resolutions, this blog post from last year might be helpful. I thought something fun to focus on in this blog post (that has nothing to do with resolutions) was to look at how different cultures use food to celebrate the New Year. A cool aspect of recovery is understanding and appreciating how food is such a powerful connection tool. Additionally, if you are still looking for a dish to make for New Year’s Eve celebrations, this may also be a fun place to look for ideas to come with a dish and a story to tell! Toshikoshi Soba In Japan, a New Year’s tradition is to eat soup with buckwheat soba noodles, referred to as “year-crossing” noodles. Toshikoshi means “to climb or jump from the old year to the new”. These soba noodles symbolize longevity and health. Grapes A Spanish tradition known as “las doce uvas de la suerta”, which translates to the twelve grapes of luck, states that eating 12 grapes when the clock strikes 12 AM will bring good luck in the new year. Each grape signifies one month, and the superstition holds that incompletion of all 12 in time will mean misfortune in the coming year. Lentils For an Italian New Year celebration, this typically includes multiple courses served over several hours. One of the dishes in the spread said to bring good luck are lentils! Lentils are thought to be lucky and a symbol of prosperity due to their shape being reminiscent of a coin. Tamales Tamales are a holiday staple in Mexican cultures and oftentimes bring many family members together throughout the season for the laborious task of making the tamales. On New Year’s day, the tamales are usually served with menudo, a soup that is notorious for helping with hangover relief. Kransekage Kransekage, which translates to “wreath cake” is a tower-like cake made of layered concentric rings. These cakes are typically made for New Year’s Eve, amongst other special occasions, in Denmark and Norway. The cake often has a special surprise inside - a bottle of wine or Aquavit, a spirit similar to vodka or gin. Hoppin’ John Hoppin’ Josh is an American South dish consisting of black eyed peas, which similar to lentils are seen to represent a coin, and thus financial prosperity; rice, cooked greens (symbolizing the color of money), and cornbread (symbolizing the color of gold) are typically served with this dish as well. A recipe for this dish dates as far back as 1847! Hopefully this list gave you some ideas for what to bring to a gathering or make at home this year, or maybe it was just a fun and enjoyable read! It’s pretty powerful to see how food creates so many traditions and helps to connect individuals across the world. Thank you for following along, and Happy New Year to all! References:


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