New Year’s celebrations across the globe include a variety of festive cakes and bread, as well as long noodles (a symbol of longevity), field peas (a representation of currency), herring (a symbol of plenty), and pigs (a symbol of fertility). The specifics differ, but the overall message is the same: Indulge yourself to welcome a prosperous new year with food and drinks. 1.6 million people attended a New Year’s Eve celebration in Sydney last year. The following are some of the most widely practised customs at a New Year’s Eve Dinner in Sydney:
Peas with Grits
It’s a long-standing custom to eat black-eyed peas on the first day of the new year. Black-eyed peas are not to be mistaken with green peas (or the hip hop band of the same name!). There are a variety of theories as to why they bring good fortune on the first day of the new year. According to one hypothesis, Union troops looted the Confederate army’s food supplies in the Civil War and left just one bean behind. One of the few meals accessible to slaves, Black-eyed peas was a common ingredient in the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863 among newly liberated African Americans. Even in Ancient Egypt, eating a pea was seen as a method to demonstrate reverence for their deities since the legume was widely accessible to even the most impoverished slaves at the time. Try Ham and Black-Eyed Pea Salad with them as a side dish.
Pork is traditionally associated with good fortune on the first day of the new year, which is why it’s so popular as a festive centrepiece. What’s the significance of eating pig on New Year’s? To begin, pigs differ from other animals in their demeanour. For some people, a pig buries his nose into the ground and goes forward, representing the direction you want to go in the New Year, while chickens and turkeys scrape backwards. There’s also the logistics issue: Pigs are customarily killed in the autumn months, making pork an excellent option for enjoying the New Year’s Eve festivities. It is a German and Eastern European custom to eat pork (and cabbage) on New Year’s Eve, introduced to the United States by immigrants from those countries.
Sauerkraut or another kind of cabbage is often served with pork. Again, this is a German and Eastern European custom with a basic logistical foundation: Sauerkraut is just about ready for New Year’s because of the late autumn harvest and the six- to the eight-week fermentation process. The strands of cabbage in sauerkraut or coleslaw may symbolise long life, while cabbage can also indicate money. On New Year’s Eve Dinner in Sydney, however, cabbage is also infused with meaning. Sauerkraut prepared with caraway seeds adds a refined touch.
When is a cake not an excellent choice for a celebration? Many cultures celebrate the new year with a special cake. Vasilopita (also known as king pie or basil pie) is a traditional Greek confection served solely on the first day of the new year. This sweet, bready, almond-topped cake is a traditional fare during the Greek New Year. When a coin or other object is baked into the cake, it brings good fortune to those who eat it.
Fruits are traditionally consumed on New Year’s Eve in the Philippines. How many varieties of fruit are there for the New Year? Each month is represented by one of the twelve members of the group. Mangoes and watermelon are good choices for Filipinos, who like spherical fruits. To mark the beginning of a new year, grapes are traditionally consumed in Mexico at midnight, while pomegranates, which represent fertility and new life, are eaten all around the globe. New Year’s Eve cocktails with pomegranate juice are an elegant way to ring in 2015.
Another typical New Year’s meal, particularly in cultures near water, is fish for the New Year’s. Herring, for example, was revered in Scandinavia as a sign of good fortune because of the silver-scaled fish’s association with wealth. Eating herring was a method of hoping for a big catch in the months to come, as herring had erratic migratory patterns, and a good year didn’t always suggest a successful following year. Herring was also highly exported and crucial to the country’s wealth. The fish, on the other hand, is simple. Today, it may serve as a good luck charm and a delicious starter for the New Year. A crostini plate wouldn’t be complete without pickled herring as a topping.
In Sydney, you will find people from all around the globe celebrating together and enjoying each other’s cultural traditions and customs with utmost love. This city is the place to celebrate New Year’s Eve if you get a chance.