Your resolutions for the New Year might involve developing positive habits, like going to the gym or getting organized, but we have an even easier way to ensure you have the best year possible: by eating your way to good fortune.
On December 31, different cultures across the world eat traditional foods to promise a new year of good fortune and luck. So whether you're superstitious (or even just a little 'stitious), it wouldn't be a bad idea to incorporate some of these food traditions into your upcoming New Year's celebrations.
① Black-Eyed Peas & Collard Greens
Aside from being tasty, these Southern staples are traditionally eaten on NYE because of their resemblance to coins and folded money. Black-eyed peas are especially popular since they swell so much after being cooked, symbolizing a growth in riches. Persnickety Southerners will make sure they eat exactly 365 of them, one for each day of the upcoming year, but personally, we'll spare the counting in favor of just eating an extra helping.
② Rice Pudding
In Northern Europe, families hide a single almond among bowls of rice pudding, and the lucky finder is promised a year of prosperity. If you're feeling especially generous, you could always hide an almond in everyone's bowl.
③ Ring-Shaped Foods
For many countries, eating desserts like a Bundt cake is thought to represent the year finally coming full circle. Bakers in Denmark celebrate this custom with kransekake, a towering confection made with stacked rings of marzipan cake. Even if you don't live near a Danish bakery, use the end of the year as your final chance to eat as many doughnuts, bagels and carbs as possible before your clean-eating regimen kicks in.
Some cities in Spain might have a reputation for boisterous late-night celebrations, but at midnight, the country is quiet as Spaniards take part in an important tradition. Instead of a rowdy countdown, everyone pops a grape for each chime of the bell—12 total—to guarantee a prosperous year ahead. Just be careful to swallow slowly or risk starting 2017 with the Heimlich maneuver.
Countries including Cuba and Austria see the portly bellies of pigs as representing richness and prosperity, and their habit of scooting their noses forward as a symbol of future progress. As a result, whole-roasted suckling pigs are a common appearance on many tables during New Year's celebrations, although many other countries have adopted this folklore to include any cut of pork. Frankly, we're just glad we have another reason to consume more bacon.
RELATED Our Best Pork Recipes »
This tradition doubles as a chance to get rid of all your pent-up frustration: In Greece, families smash pomegranates against their front doorsteps on New Year's. The more seeds that pop out, the more abundant the coming year is going to be. And if your pomegranate ends up being a bit stingy? We've got a hack for that.
Please check your inbox to verify your email address.