Christmas has it, Easter has it, Hogmanay has it, but unless I’ve missed out for half a century on a tradition that I’ve never been told about, New Year’s Eve doesn’t; as far as I know there is no communal English New Year’s Eve celebratory meal.
That is presuming most people eat on New Year’s Eve.
Yes, sure, we all have a few (or more) drinks as the calendar flips over to usher in a fresh start, but are these pints, litres and glasses of alcohol underpinned with a traditional meal?
If you’re at a loss as to what to eat, here are some ideas from around the world:
In China, Japan and other Asian countries, it’s customary to eat noodles, signifying longevity, at New Year; apparently slurping them down gives even more luck in the coming year.
Pomegranates represent good luck in Turkey; the red colour, which represents the human heart, denotes life and fertility; their medicinal properties represents health; and their abundant, round seeds represent prosperity. This is probably the uber New Year food, if somewhat difficult to find in the local supermarket.
A popular New Year’s meal in Italy is Cotechino con Lenticchie (green lentils with sausage) because of the legume’s greenish colour and coin-like appearance. When cooked, lentils plump with water apparently symbolise growing wealth.
In Germany, Poland and Scandinavia, it’s believed that eating herring at the stroke of midnight will ensure a year of bounty as their silvery colour resembles coins.
I’m not sure they should all appear on the same menu, but select any one of these and they’ll counter the rich, fatty Christmas fare we’ll all have shovelled down days earlier.
Here’s to a pickled herring, lentil, noodle and pomegranate fuelled New Year!