Five Food Traditions to Ring In the New Year

While mentions of food around New Year's are often limited to diatribes about holiday overindulgence and plans to forego various edibles in the coming year - food also plays a pivotal role in the cultural introduction of a dawning year.

Various countries and cultures around the world have specific food traditions designed to ring in the new year. So if you're looking for a tasty way to celebrate 2013 that stays true to your heritage, here are some options. May your new year be eternally delicious!

Read also:
- Year in Review: Miami Food Scene 2012
- The Year in Meat! (2012)

Hoppin' John
In the southern half of the U.S., eaters insure a prosperous new year by noshing on a mix of black-eyed peas, rice, onion and bacon. Peas are said to represent coins, and sometimes, a coin is actually sometimes added to the pot (ew) or left under the bowl. Various greens (since they're the color of money) can also be added to the lot. Collard are the most popular.

As the clock rings out 12 times at midnight on New Year's Eve, Spanish tradition says to eat one grape per clang. The ritual is believed to bring good luck - and potentially ward off evil. While the tradition was said to originate in Spain in the early 1900s (in response to a grape surplus) -- it's since spread to other Latin countries as well.

In Japan, slurping up toshikoshi soba noodles on New Year's leads to a lengthy life. "Toshikoshi" means to jump from one year to the next, and the long, skinny buckwheat noodles are symbolic of longevity.

This towering Danish cake is made with up to 18 marzipan wreaths, sometimes topped with frosting, chocolate or almonds. Shaped loosely like a horn of plenty, the treat is said to promise future happiness and financial success.

Little piggies root forward, pushing their snouts ahead to search for food. Such a mannerism may be their downfall, however, as it's considered good luck to eat them when heading into a New Year. In addition, their chubby figures are symbolic of abundance. In Germany, many eat pork paired with saurkraut (also believed to bring wealth) on New Year's Day.

Put all of the above together and that's one hell of a weird, fortuitous feast.

Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahalexs.

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