GOOD LUCK FOODS FOR NEW YEARS DAY
In many Asian countries, long noodles are eaten on New Year's Day in order to bring a long life. One catch: You can't break the noodle before it is all in your mouth.
In Germany, Ireland, and parts of the United States, cabbage is associated with luck and fortune since it is green and resembles money.
Thought to resemble coins, lentils are eaten throughout Italy for good fortune in the New Year.
In North America, Asia, and Europe, people eat fish to celebrate the new year. In some countries, people associate fish with moving forward into the new year since fish swim forward. Other people think fish symbolize abundance since they swim in schools.
Pork is served at New Year’s celebrations all over the world. Some cultures believe pigs symbolize prosperity and abundance because of their plump bodies and high fat content, while others say pigs symbolize progress because they push themselves forward as they root around in the dirt for food.
Like most round foods, beans symbolize money and prosperity in many cultures. But the type of legume traditionally consumed for the New Year depends on where you live. Italians eat pork sausages and green lentils, Brazilians serve lentils and rice, and the Japanese eat sweet black beans called kuro-mame. Black-eyed peas are a traditional part of New Year’s meals in the southern United States.
In Mexico and many South American countries, instead of doing a champagne toast, New Year's Eve revelers eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight, one for each month in the coming year. If a grape is sweet, it will be a good month, and if it’s sour, well, you get the idea. Just remember to chew well, or make sure someone around you knows the Heimlich maneuver.
Citrus is a positive symbol for the Chinese New Year, observed on the first day of the first lunar month (in 2009, it falls on January 26). Tangerines represent good luck, and oranges represent wealth. In Turkey, pomegranates symbolize good luck because of their red color and round seeds, which represent money and prosperity.
WHAT NOT TO EAT
Steering clear of "unlucky" foods is just as important as serving the good stuff. You wouldn’t want to ruin someone’s entire year by serving them something as unlucky as chicken, would you? According to many cultures, eating anything with wings is a no-no for New Year’s because it could fly away, taking all your luck. Chicken is especially bad because the bird scratches backwards (unlike the forward-thinking pig), possibly leading to setbacks. Backwards-swimming lobsters are also a bad omen for the same reason. The color white is a symbol of death in the Chinese culture, so avoid eggs, tofu, or white cheese. And above all, don’t clean your plate too thoroughly — many cultures believe that leaving a little leftover food on your plate will usher in a year of plenty.
PROVIDED BY MSN.COM, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING AND DELISH