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New Year is time for tradition and revelry, and around the world this often takes the form of consuming large quantities of food and drink. Munching on these special foods, often in special ways, is said to bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year, and even if it doesn’t, at least you will be full of delicious treats. If you’re looking to increase your good fortune for our next spin around the sun, then try some of these.

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Grapes

12 Grapes Before Midnight

Flickr: Chris Oakley

In Spain and some other Spanish speaking countries, it is a traditional to eat 12 grapes at midnight, one for each stroke of the hour. This turns into a display of machismo around the dinner table, as everyone tries to cram in the grapes while giggling at the same time. Most people are superstitious about this, and very few would risk the ill fate guaranteed by missing this ritual.

Long noodles

Long noodles new year

Flickr: autan

In China, Japan and some other Asian countries it is customary to eat long noodles, which symbolize a long life. The noodles must be eaten in one unbroken strand and in Japan are usually prepared the night before, as it is deemed unlucky to cook in the first 3 days of the New Year.

Pomegranatespomegranate new year

Pomegranates have three characteristics which symbolise good luck and they are especially venerated in Turkey and Greece where it is traditional to smash one on the floor at the stroke of midnight. The red colour means life and fertility, being the colour of blood, the medical properties represent health and the many small round seeds symbolise prosperity.

Leafy greensCollard greens New Year

In the American South it is seen as good luck to eat vegetables such as kale and cabbage at New Year as their appearance resembles green dollar bills. It is believed the more you eat the more prosperity will come your way, and at least if your wallet doesn’t benefit, your body will.

Fish

new year fish Asia

Flickr: Miyuki Mouse

In many Asian countries fish are considered lucky as their scales and colour resemble coins. In Scandinavia and Poland eating herring at the stroke of midnight is believed to bring prosperity for the coming year, probably because these fish are found in such abundance in the oceans of Western Europe.

PorkSuckling pig New Year

In many countries all things pig related are thought to bring luck for the next year, mainly because they represent progress. This could be because they never move backwards or because they push their snouts forwards in the ground while they root around. In Cuba they eat roast suckling pig, but in some places even pig shaped cakes will suffice.