Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Eat Lucky for 2013

Want to get lucky for the New Year? Try eating good-luck foods! For centuries, people around the world have created superstitious traditions around certain foods thought to bring good luck — namely money, prosperity and plenty to eat. Here’s a sampling of some of those fortunately fortuitous foods:

Cooked Greens

In many cultures, green leaves represent money, a symbol of economic good fortune. Supposedly, the more you eat the greater your wealth in the New Year. Not sure about that but leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses so eating lots of them can be a boost for your health.


Small beans, peas and lentils are symbolic of coins and are believed to bring financial rewards when eaten. In Italy it’s customary to eat lentils with sausages after midnight. In Germany, pork and lentils or split peas are a common good luck meal. In Brazil, lentils and rice or lentil soup is the first meal to celebrate the New Year.

In Japan, black beans are eaten at the first of the year.

Hoppin' JohnDuring the Civil War the town of Vicksburg, VA, ran out of food while under attack. Apparently, the residents of the town discovered black-eyed peas and thereafter the legume was considered a lucky food.


Pigs symbolize progress. In Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary and Austria, roast suckling pig is served on New Year's Day. The Germans love pork sausage, and in Sweden, pigs’ feet are often on the menu. Because of its rich fat content, pork is a symbol of wealth and prosperity.


In Spain in 1909, a tradition of eating one grape for each stroke of the clock began. The practice spread to Portugal, Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador and Peru. Each grape represents a different month; if one of the grapes happens to be bad or sour, it means the corresponding month in the coming year will be the same. Yikes!

What’s your favorite good luck food for the New Year? Got a recipe? Let me know.

Leave a reply

To provide feedback or ask a question about our company, a store or a product, please visit our Customer Service page.

For more information about posting comments to our blog, please see our Comment Posting Guidelines.



George Taylor says …

Enjoy your store and now thanks for this information and recipes this morning

Elle Cid says …

I don't know where you've done your research but Portugal does not eat grapes at all. They eat raisins, if they decide to go with any tradition at all.

Dulke says …

This vegetarian version of Hoppin' John is something we've enjoyed the last few years, I found it in the Chicago Tribune: 2 tablespoons peanut oil 1 tablespoon butter 1 large yellow onions, finely diced 2 bay leaves 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon dried chipotle powder or 1/2 teaspoon regular chili powder 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice 4 cups frozen black-eyed peas or 4 cups rehydrated black-eyed peas 1 teaspoon salt fresh ground pepper, to taste 1 cup long-grain white rice Melt butter with oil in large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, bay leaves, thyme, chili powder and allspice. Cook, stirring often, until onion is lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Prepare rice by your preferred method. Add black-eyed peas to the onion mix; cover with water. Increase heat to medium-high; heat to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer; cover. Cook until peas are just tender, 20-25 minutes, checking pan and adding more water if needed. Uncover; cook over medium heat until water is mostly absorbed, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove bay leaves. Serve over rice. I often use vegetable broth instead of water. My broth has no salt, if you use a commercial broth, cut down on or eliminate the salt.

Michelle says …

These recipes look Amazing! I can't wait to try the salads and bean recipes.

Gloria Zielin says …

My Mother would always eat creamed Haring on a cracker while holding a silver dollar in the other hand. This was supposed to bring us good luck.

mirks says …

Love this story...gonna have to look into lucky stories. Love the idea. I like how everything was put together. Makes it easy to picture

Fran says …

In the commentary regarding black-eyed peas, I'm pretty certain you meant Vicksburg, Mississippi and not Vicksburg, Virginia

john says …

i feel good

Victoria says …

A Polish tradition has it that the first thing you eat in the New Year is Herring to bring good luck.

kay says …

Um, raisins are grapes.

Robert Keeley says …

Do you have a recipe for ozoni soup?Or know where I could get one?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ROBERT - We had to hunt a bit for a recipe but we found a good-looking one at http://www.chow.com/recipes/11207-ozoni-soup. Enjoy!