Find luck and good fortune in the new year

Lucky food, drink, traditions

Will you be singing Auld Lang Syne at a New Year’s party? Do you make resolutions? Maybe you follow a few habits to encourage good fortune and luck when the calendar changes?

There are all kinds of traditions that legend says bring good luck in the coming year. We all want a fresh start and new beginnings, so it seems we will try almost anything. Around the world, all kinds of interesting symbols have become important.

Even if you aren’t having a party, you can eat lucky food or have an appropriate drink to start the new year. This can be done in all kinds of ways. Here are just a few:

• Pigs are good luck (their high fat content represents prosperity). They also forage forward, towards the future. Turkeys, on the other hand, scratch backwards. So a ham is a luckier choice for New Year’s Dinner, in case you were wondering.

• In Estonia, eating many meals is how they do it – 7, 9 and 12 are lucky numbers. People will visit many friends and share meals with each. But it’s also good form to leave some food on your plate, in recognition of past family members, so you need not worry about overdoing it.

• Japanese people sip soba noodles when they ring in the new year. The noodles are long, representing a long life, and made of strong buckwheat, to represent strength in the coming year.

• In Spain and Mexico, you eat 12 grapes as the clock chimes midnight, each one representing a goal for the new year. Take care not to choke, though – that would surely not bode well.

• Drinking champagne has been a sign of success and abundance in the new year since the late 1800s, only a few decades after the custom of publicly celebrating by sharing drinks with friends had taken hold. It started out as a drink for nobles and royalty, but it has long been an aspirational drink for the rest of us.

• In Russia, your champagne has even more symbolism. You write your wishes for the new year down, then burn the paper and drink the ashes in your glass of champagne to seal the deal.

Giving gifts is something we do often during this season, and on New Year’s Eve, offering a gift to a party host is not only nice, it is symbolic.

• In Scotland, at Hogmanay celebrations, the “first footing” is crucial. After having been conquered by mostly blond Vikings, the custom says a dark-haired man (not looking like a Viking) arriving first at your door in the new year is the best signal for a peaceful and prosperous new year.

• Cultures around the world have appreciated the following tokens from guests through the ages: salt (for peace and harmony); coal (for warmth and the kitchen stove); and bread (for sustenance).

• Round fruits are seen as signs of prosperity, like round coins. In Greece, they smash a pomegranate on their front door. The more seeds that are scattered, the better off you’ll be in the new year.

• In Denmark, smashing plates on neighbouring doors is said to get rid of any ill will from the past year. The bigger the pile of china at your door, the better luck you have.

Making noise is the other component of a good new year’s celebration, starting with those silly horns and then getting much more exuberant.

• Fireworks, singing or music, and even the smashing of dishes is said to have started as a way to ward off evil spirits.

• Buddhist monks in some temples ring 108 bells, chasing away the evil desires we can have. (I didn’t know there were as many as that. Did you?)

• Auld Lang Syne is perhaps one of the oldest traditions in festive songs, even though most of us don’t know the words. Just the idea that we are celebrating time with friends and loved ones seems good enough motivation to hum along.

Whatever traditions you choose to follow, I wish you a happy New Year.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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