2021 is about to a distant memory in your rearview mirror as we head into 2022 with hopes of a better year. Many may set resolutions to become healthier, travel more or spend more time with family.
Most of you may toast champagne and kiss your special someone at midnight to ring in the New Year with love. Or maybe you stay up and watch the ball drop in Times Square in the comfort of your living room. Or maybe you're like me... and fall asleep waaayy before the stroke of midnight. (I'm old and never really understood the hype. For me, my "New Year" is my birthday, hence the reason I throw down for October. Haha!)
For me... it's all about the next day, January 1st, and getting that first traditional meal of the year. If you grew up in the South, then you know we like to welcome in the New Year with black-eyed peas, collard greens, pork and cornbread. (And maybe a shot of shine if you were old enough...) We greet the future with traditions steeped in the past. The old Southern adage of "Eat poor on New Year's and eat fat the rest of the year" still rings true for us. Each part representing good fortune and prosperity for the next year; collard greens and black-eyed peas denoting cash and coins, pork for moving forward (as pigs root forward), and cornbread symbolizes gold.
There are a few legends on how and why the black-eyed pea became the bean of good fortune:
One theory is during Sherman's March to the Sea during the Civil War, he left behind the black-eyed peas, thinking it was feed for the animals and not for human consumption. The survivors were "lucky" to have any remaining food to get them through that cold winter.
Another tale suggests that on January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation was passed and the newly freed slaves ate black-eyed peas because it was all the food they had. According to this story, it's the reason why black-eyed peas have been consumed on every New Year's since then.
Whatever the reasoning behind it, for many, it means time spent with family to celebrate the beginning of a new year and a new chapter. And whether these foods bring any good luck into the next year, I'll do anything to ensure some good fortune... Plus it's pretty dang yummy!
What are your New Year's traditions? Comment below and let us know how you bring in the New Year.