Happy New Years from Laura, myself, and the rest of the Big Green family! For this new year, we hope to talk more about peoples’ connections with food and what better time than the present?
In many parts of the world superstitions have turned into tradition. Below are some New Years traditions that involve Learning Garden crops:
Collards and black eyed peas are eaten by some people in the South in hopes of having a prosperous new year. Collards’ green leaves resemble money while black eyed peas are associated with good luck. It is believed that collards were originally used because they kept growing in the cold months while black eyed peas could be dried and stored well into the holidays. Black eyed peas are also a good luck tradition for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). California is the #1 producer of black eyed peas in the US producing 31.9 million lbs annually. [source] [source] [source] Though we do not provide schools with black eyed peas until May, you can learn all about them by glancing over our CA Cowpeas Guide.
Corn bread is also served in Southern households and can represent gold, wealth, or health.
Some German households eat sauerkraut, made of cabbage, on New Year’s Day. The long strips of cabbage symbolize a long life. Historically, it might be due to the harvest season: cabbages harvested and prepared in October would be ready in late December. Additionally some households eat Erbsensuppe (pea soup), Bohnensuppe (bean soup), or Möhrensuppe (carrot soup) on New Year’s Eve to bring blessings and wealth for the new year. [source] It’s currently cabbage, pea, and carrot season! Check our Fall Garden Plan to learn more about their care.
In eastern Hungary, farmers would make weather prediction calendars by soaking 12 garlic cloves in salt. Each clove represented a month and “the effect of the salt on the garlic was purported to predict dry or rainy conditions.” [source] Did you know California grows 90% of garlic in the US? Read our All About Garlic post to learn more facts and care information!
In Spain and in many Hispanic households elsewhere, people eat 12 grapes* (one for every month) during the last 12 seconds of the year for good luck. One grape is eaten during each second and, it goes without saying, small seedless grapes are best. *While grapes are not a Learning Garden crop, California is the top grape producer in the country. [source] [source]
Food traditions are difficult to track down as they were not often written and can often be speculative. If you are interested in learning more we hope that you embark on your own exploration and think about your own food traditions throughout the year!