HAPPY NEW YEAR!
MY TRADITIONAL NEW YEAR’S GOOD LUCK FOOD
I am from the South, and Southerners eat black-eyed peas, greens (collards or kale), and pork (usually a ham hock or a hog jowl cooked together with the black-eyed peas and the greens, for flavor. (In other parts of the country, they might eat the same thing – I don’t want to exclude anyone – I just can only speak for what we do in the South).
The foods Southerners traditionally eat on New Year’s Day have meaning:
BLACK-EYED PEAS SYMBOLIZE PLENTY AND PROSPERITY). When you cook black-eyed peas, they almost double in size. I’ve heard a number of different stories about black-eyed peas – most of them stem from an event in the War Between the States, in the 1800s. I’ve heard that a city was burned down (some say Charleston, some Atlanta, some Savannah – that doesn’t matter – the Union army made a point of burning down Confederate cities ) The story I have heard most often was that the starving people, homeless because of the burning, found a warehouse with barrels of black-eyed peas, and, so, they were able to eat (and, possibly—now this is me thinking – plant a new crop). This morning, I learned that some people say that, in Vicksburg, VA, the Union army burned all of the crops, save the black-eyed peas, which they mistakenly believed to be only food for animals.
GREENS (COLLARDS OR KALE) SYMBOLIZE PROSPERITY: Green has long been the color of American money.
HAM/PORK SYMBOLIZES PROGRESS: The pig is the only animal that moves forward while it is eating.
MY RAW NEW YEAR’S GOOD LUCK FOOD
BLACK-EYED PEAS: I ate 5-day black-eyed pea sprouts with chopped red bell pepper, onion, garlic, and an olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing.
So, WHAT ABOUT THE HAM? Early on, I decided to resolve this issue by “intention”. I have a little pig figurine made of gold. I place it on the table when I am eating my New Year’s good luck food, and I think about it. I think about how the pig eats while it is moving forward, and I think about how the pig I have is made of gold, and how valuable my little pig is. Even when I have desperately needed money, I have never thought of selling my little gold pig. He urges me to find other ways to get money. That’s progress.