Happy New Year ! Celebrate with these ‘lucky’ international dishes

You’ll feel very lucky if you eat any of these dishes on New Years Eve – and even more so if you celebrate abroad.

Every year, New Years Eve brings with it a wave of excitement about a new year of opportunity. There is something so refreshing about a year in the past and a new one. As with everything that looks like that, food is still a big part of it – and around the world, many countries celebrate the start of a New Year with their own traditional dishes.

Some, like the dishes eaten for Lunar New Year, are considered lucky while others are just traditional. One thing is for sure, though: all of them look delicious, and one would be happy to usher in a new year with these dishes stacked high on the table!


Louisiana and its Kings Cake

New Orleans, in particular, has always found a way to celebrate by bringing together community and tradition. This city is unbreakable and many of its customs reflect this, such as the beloved king’s cake which is often iconic at times of festivals like Mardi Gras.

Instead of eating this cake on New Years Eve (not everyone would object, it’s delicious!), This cake is made in early January. The tradition actually dates back to old world Europe and was eventually brought across the pond, where it has become customary in New Orleans. According to Catholic tradition, the cake is usually eaten on January 6, known as Epiphany, or the twelfth night.


What is the cake of the kings?

The royal cake consists of a simple and sweet cake in the shape of a ring. During Mardi Gras, a little plastic baby is usually tucked away somewhere inside the dough, and whoever gets that slice is said to be lucky. The lucky winner of the hidden baby slice is crowned “king” or “queen” of the day. While the inside of the cake is sweet, the outside is even sweeter as it’s usually glazed and sprinkled with purple, gold, and green sprinkles.

Hot tamales from Mexico

In Mexico, New Years Eve is very tradition and family oriented. This is how tamales have become the centerpiece of many people’s tables, and it’s not just eating that brings family and friends together. The process of making tamales is not easy and often takes all day, which is why a large group is needed – thus, New Years Eve becomes a family event that lasts all day.


However, tamale making usually begins from early to mid-December and continues throughout the New Year. December 12 marks the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and January 6 marks the Day of the Three Kings; in between, tamales will be prepared and eaten. Several generations of families are usually involved in this unwavering tradition, which makes it even more special on New Years Day.

  • Do: Tamales date back to 5000 BC and were made by the Mayans and Aztecs. They were eventually brought to the United States and sold by street vendors on the West Coast, according to history.com.

Related: Here’s What You Need To Know About Celebrating New Years In Time Square This Year (With Some Helpful Tips)


The 12 lucky grapes from Spain

It might sound a little unusual, but the Spanish tradition makes perfect sense when it comes to celebrating the New Year. Rather than popping a bottle of champagne or dipping into a festive glass of wine, the Spaniards prefer their unfermented grapes. It is a tradition in Spain that once the clock strikes midnight, everyone must eat 12 grapes in a row. This is said to represent the 12 chimes until midnight, which is believed to bring good luck the following year.

In addition, the 12 grapes are said to also represent the next 12 months. According to history.com, this custom began in 1880 and has continued to be a fun tradition to this day.


  • Do: It is also said that if a person does not eat all 12 grapes – or skip one in between – it means bad luck for one of the months of the following year to come.

Eastern European pickled herring

Pickled herring may not seem appealing to everyone, but it is a fairly common dish in Eastern European countries. In countries of Germanic, Polish and Scandinavian origin, in particular, this dish is a strong tradition on New Year’s Eve and during the holidays. The dish has even been seen in Dutch and Northern European countries, thanks to all that it symbolizes.

The fish itself is silvery in color, which is said to represent fertility, bounty, and long life, with money representing good fortune for the New Year. Rather than counting as a whole meal, this small snack will often be served as part of a platter or main meal on New Years Eve.


Next: This is what is eaten on Lunar New Year’s Day, with some dishes believed to bring good fortune

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