Traditional Southern New Year Menu
- By: Hallee
- 4 Comments
Our family always enjoys a traditional New Year’s Day menu. That is: Black Eyed Peas, Turnip Greens, and Cornbread.
I’ve never really researched the tradition, just accepted it as what “people do”. So, last week while I planned on writing this post, I discovered some fascinating information on Wikipedia which I adjusted for the Gregorian calendar:
In the south, the meanings behind the peas and the greens are as follows: The peas, since they swell when cooked, symbolize prosperity, and the greens symbolize money for the coming year.
These “good luck” traditions supposedly date back to the Civil War, when Union troops, especially in areas targeted by General William Sherman, typically stripped the countryside of all stored food, crops, and livestock, and destroyed whatever they couldn’t carry away. At that time, Northerners considered “field peas” and field corn suitable only for animal fodder, and didn’t steal or destroy these humble foods.
The “good luck” traditions of eating black eyed peas at Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, are recorded in the Babylonian Talmud (compiled ~500 AD), Horayot 12A: “Abaye [d. 339 AD] said, now that you have established that good-luck symbols avail, you should make it a habit to see Qara (bottle gourd), Rubiya (black-eyed peas, Arabic Lubiya), Kartei (leeks), Silka (either beets or spinach), and Tamrei (dates) on your table on the New Year.” However, the custom may have resulted from an early mistranslation of the Aramaic word rubiya (fenugreek).
A parallel text in Kritot 5B states that one should eat these symbols of good luck. The accepted custom (Shulhan Aruh Orah Hayim 583:1, 16th century, the standard code of Jewish law and practice) is to eat the symbols. This custom is followed by Sephardi and Israeli Jews to this day.
In the United States, the first Sephardi Jews arrived in Georgia in the 1730s and have lived there continuously since. The Jewish practice was apparently adopted by non-Jews around the time of the American Civil War.
However you celebrate the New Year, may you have a glorious year of our Lord 2010. May God bless you and your family in beautiful ways.
Happy New Year!
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Happy New Year to you, too!
And we eat black-eyed peas, cornbread, collard greens and hog jowls around here!
The pig symbolizes forward momentum, because a pig roots forward. But, we don’t eat pork, so I left that out. :-)
Happy New Year!
Where do you get the smoked turkey bone-from a butcher or do you save yours from a turkey? I have never heard of this, but have eaten the black eyed peas before. Just found your website from a comment you left at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam. I am enjoying all of your detailed (which I appreciate very much) information. I have a friend who I am witnessing to who believes in evolution, so the articles from your hubby have been informative as well. I am looking into some of the books you recommend about the diet you follow. Will probably have more questions about that. :)
PS The layout of your website is one of the best I have seen. It is very easy to find information, and visually creative.
I have had a smoked turkey that I’ve used the leg or wing from (Sam’s used to sell whole smoked turkeys – I don’t know if they still do – I haven’t had Thanksgiving at my house for many years). I also just buy it. This year I bought smoked turkey wings and smoked turkey legs from Kroger’s meat department.
Thank you so much. My husband does all of the background work on the blog. I just write. He really puts so much effort into it. It is a labor of love for him and it’s always awesome when someone other than me mentions what a beautiful job he’s done.
Welcome to the site!