I've heard of several different family New Year's traditions including the champagne toast or kissing a loved one at midnight. Our family has adopted the southern tradition of eating black-eyed peas.The tradition of eating black-eye peas, (or blackeye peas/beans as they are sometimes called), at the start of a New Year is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity.  In the southern United States, they are usually cooked with ham or bacon and served with collard greens, peppers and maybe cornbread. The peas symbolize prosperity, the greens symbolize money and the pork symbolizes positive motion.

Our family's Colorado version has evolved over the years into making a delicious blackeye pea soup using some spicy pork sausage. My family is not particularly fond of collard greens, so we substitute with some other vegetable or a salad.

According to Wikipedia, the black-eyed pea has been around for centuries but the southern tradition of eating them on New Year's Day may have gotten it's start in the U.S. by Sephardi Jews who settled in Georgia in the 1700's. The Jewish tradition was then adopted by non-Jews in the south, perhaps around the time of the Civil War.

I can't say if black-eyed peas are truly the source of good luck, but it certainly is a fun family tradition and a tasty meal.


More From Kool 107.9