COLUMBIA, S.C. — On New Year’s Day in the south, it’s all about what you eat that some say can set you up for a successful year. Your meal on New Year’s Day should include collard greens, black-eyed peas, pork and cornbread. They’re said to bring good health, wealth and luck.
It isn’t quite clear when or why these foods became New Year’s Day staples, but according to southern food researcher John Egerton’s Southern Food: At Home, On the Road, In History, black-eyed peas are associated with a “mystical and mythical power to bring good luck.”
The legume originated from West Africa and has often been included in meals for special occasions. Many believe the swelling of the cooked bean symbolizes the increasing of good fortunes.
Here are the New Year’s Day classics and what they are said to represent: