Photo: Iain Bagwell from

It wasn’t until I lived outside the south that I realized not everyone eats a special meal on New Years Day. The traditional New Year’s Day meal in the South is meant to start the year off right and bring good fortune in the year ahead. Are Southerners superstitious, or do we just like a good excuse to cook another special feast? We’re not sure the right answer, but we can share our traditions:

Greens – symbolizing dollar bills, cooked greens are meant to bring wealth and luck in the new year. The Southern cook typically uses collard greens with pork for flavor.

Black-eyed Peas – resembling coins, black-eyed peas are also thought to bring luck and prosperity. Eat 365 for each day of the coming year.

Cornbread – symbolizing gold, cornbread is a staple on Southern tables on New Year’s Day.

Pork – eating pork signifies abundance and brings luck. The more pork in your meal, the more luck! Also, pigs root forward into the ground, which symbolizes progress.

Hoppin’ John – this dish combines black-eyed peas with rice and some sort of pork. Leftovers the day after are known as “Skippin’ Jenny.” Eating Skippin’ Jenny shows your frugality and increases your chances of prosperity.

On St. Simons Island, there are several restaurants with menus that can cover your New Year’s Day needs. Try Southern Soul BBQ or 4th of May Cafe for your helping of good fortune and prosperity!

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