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New Year

New Year day food is made to mark the celebration of the first day of the year. Usually, New Year day dishes are served after the clock strikes 12 on 31st December. According to the English calendar, 1st January is the first day of the New Year, hence people all over the world welcome the New Year with a grand feast. New Year day food varies from region to region and country to country. Each religion has its own way of celebrating the New Year and the New Year day food reflects their religion. Most commonly served American New Year day dishes are stuffed chicken, New Year cake and puddings.

Traditional New Year Day Recipes

Traditionally, the New Year day menu includes the dishes that are the most popular dishes of the country in which it is being celebrated. In China, New Year is celebrated with some traditional and symbolic New Year day recipes. It is believed that these New Year day dishes bring happiness and good fortune on New Year. Some such New Year day recipes include whole chicken, noodles, spring rolls and lettuce wrap. Cakes and other baked items are also quite popular as New Year day dishes. In other religions, New Year day food includes some ‘lucky foods’. These food items are considered lucky, as according to ancient people good fortune and wealth arrives if these foods are eaten in New Year meal. The list of ‘Lucky foods’ include grapes, pork dishes, fish, along with legumes and baked items. Apart form these food items, some foods are avoided in New Year day recipes. Lobster dishes and winged fowl recipes are believed to be inauspicious in traditional New Year day food menu. The proper assortment of these lucky and traditional dishes forms the entire New Year day food dinner menu.

Significance of New Year day Recipes

‘Lucky foods’ and Chinese New Year day dishes have their own significance and people all over the world follow these traditions to ensure good luck and happiness in their life. Following is the list of significant New Year day recipes:

• Grapes – Spanish people eat twelve grapes with twelve strokes of clock in midnight. Their belief is that twelve grapes bring good fortune.

• Greens – In US, Germany and other parts of world, greens such as sauerkraut, collard and cabbage are eaten because their green leaves give an impression of folded currency notes. It is believed that consuming more greens will bring more economic wealth in the coming year.

• Legumes – The round shape of lentils and peas gives the look of coins hence legumes are widely eaten as New Year day food to bring wealth.

• Cakes and baked items – Cake is a symbolic New Year day food as it is a symbol of happiness and joy. Donuts, pies and other baked items are also popular New Year day recipes.

• Fish and pork – Fish and pork are also symbolic to the progress in New Year and New Year dishes mainly include them. Modern New Year Day Recipes and Their Variations New Year day recipes are changed significantly with modern time. The traditional recipes and New Year day dishes are passé. Fusion and modern day foods have replaced the old recipes. These days people don’t believe in superstitions hence ‘lucky foods’ have lost their charm. Pork, fish and chicken dishes are still popular but not for any significant reason. Cakes and desserts are more elaborated and come in various flavors. Traditionally, the cakes used to be in round shape but now cake can be of any shape according to the theme of the New Year party. Legumes and grapes have also lost their significance and are not necessarily added to New Year day recipes. Lobsters and chicken that were considered inauspicious are now being included in the New Year day food without any superstitious belief. Alcohol is also fondly associated with New Year day and various types of cocktails are also served.

Customary Way of Serving New Year Day Food

New Year day food is usually served in buffet. In some formal dinner parties, New Year day dishes can be served with British style dining. Cakes and main dishes are the mainstay of the dinner table. The host serves the food to the guests. Chinese New Year day food table includes ‘whole chicken’ as one of the auspicious foods hence it is the centerpiece of the dinner table. Eating food at New Year party also has some beliefs associated with it. Germans leave the last bite of their New Year day food in the plate in order to ensure the fully stocked kitchen or pantry in the coming year. Similarly in Philippines, people gather around the dinner table and have food together so that everyone gets enough of ‘lucky food’.

New Year Food Trivia

• Suckling pig is one of the most popular Australian New Year day dishes. It is believed to bring prosperity.

• The main New Year dish in Dutch cuisine is stuffed chicken as bird is a symbol of bringing good fortune.