It's that time of the year where everyone is beginning to look forward to a new year. Much more than the new year, everyone irrespective of religion, looks forward to their new year party. While popping a bottle of champagne is common to New Yorkers and breaking a plate as a sign of affection is popular among Danish people to welcome a new year, most countries have food traditions they participate in. To them, partaking in the food traditions will surely pave their way into the new year. Here are seven new year food traditions around the world:
1. Soba Noodles: Soba noodles is popular in Japan on New Year’s Eve. While other types of noodles are eaten year-round, the significance of Soba Noodles cannot be overemphasized on New Year Eve. Because of the long thin shape of the noodles, it is believed that the noodles will enable long life. Much more, it is believed that the ability to eat it without stress will ease them of the struggles and stresses of the previous year.
2. Twelve Grapes: People in Spain look forward to their new year tradition. At the stroke of the midnight, they all eat twelve grapes. One grape for each ring of the bell. Eating twelve grapes signifies twelve prosperous months ahead. They do not eat more, or less.
3. Herring Fish: This is synonymous to people in Poland. These silver-like fish are well-garnished and eaten to symbolize their hope for a year of wealth, abundance and prosperity.
4. Olliebollen: Doughnut-like oil balls are sold by street carts in the Netherlands. Olliebollen may not be common on ordinary days in the Netherlands, but on New Year's Eve, you will surely find it on food carts along the street. It is more significant on this day because they are made with extra food spices like raisins, pecans and diced apples. To residents, such sweet dough is the best way to embrace a new beginning.
5. Marzipan pigs: In Germany, pigs are known to symbolize good luck and prosperity. Residents see pork as an even faster way of experiencing good luck. For their new year party, pork is usually made from sugary almond paste to serve as dessert. This sugary pork dessert is a way of ushering in a sweet year.
6. Pomegranate: While residents of other countries eat certain foods to usher in a prosperous year, residents in Turkey and Greece do not exactly eat theirs – they smash pomegranate on the floor, one at a time, usually near their doorsteps. They are usually encouraged to smash it with force so there can be more tiny pieces. As the fruit itself symbolizes prosperity and fertility, breaking it into tiny pieces will further pave the way for good fortune through the year.
7. Vasilopita: This is a type of cake commonly eaten in Greece to usher in a new year. It is usually baked with a coin. Family members and loved ones gathering to share the cake symbolizes a new year filled with good luck. Anyone who sees the coin in their share gets to hope for a prosperous year ahead.