Can You Eat Turkey on New Year’s Day? A Look at Superstitions and Traditions

As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, we bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new with open arms, champagne flutes, and.a feast? While there’s no official menu for the holiday, some cultures believe that certain foods can bring good luck and prosperity in the coming year. So, what about turkey? Is it a welcome guest at the New Year’s table, or should it be left behind in the year that was?

The Verdict: It’s Complicated

The answer, like many things in life, is not a simple yes or no It depends on who you ask and what traditions they follow.

Superstitions Say No

Some New Year’s food superstitions advise against eating turkey. This stems from the belief that turkeys scratch backward when foraging for food, symbolizing a potential setback in the new year. The same goes for other birds like chicken, as well as bottom feeders like catfish and sideways-swimming creatures like lobster and crab. These are seen as metaphorical representations of moving backward or stagnation.

Traditions Say Maybe

However, there’s no widespread consensus against turkey on New Year’s Day. Many cultures don’t hold specific beliefs about turkey in this context. Additionally, turkey is often associated with Thanksgiving, a holiday celebrated months before New Year’s. So, it’s not uncommon for leftover turkey to find its way onto the New Year’s table, especially in households that prioritize minimizing food waste.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. If you’re a firm believer in New Year’s food superstitions, you might want to steer clear of turkey. But if you’re more focused on enjoying a delicious meal with loved ones, there’s no reason to exclude turkey from your New Year’s feast.

Beyond Superstitions: Other Lucky New Year’s Foods

If you’re looking to incorporate some luck-enhancing foods into your New Year’s celebration, here are a few ideas:

  • Black-eyed peas: These legumes symbolize prosperity and good fortune.
  • Greens: Collard greens, kale, and spinach represent wealth and abundance.
  • Rice: A staple in many cultures, rice symbolizes prosperity and good luck.
  • Cornbread: Its golden hue and round shape represent gold and wealth.
  • Lentils: These round legumes resemble coins, symbolizing prosperity.
  • Noodles: Their length symbolizes longevity.
  • Fish: In some cultures, fish symbolizes good fortune and abundance.
  • Grapes: In Spain, eating 12 grapes at midnight represents good luck for each month of the year.
  • Dumplings: Their shape resembles money bags, symbolizing wealth and prosperity.

Remember, the most important ingredient for a happy and prosperous New Year is good company and a positive attitude. So, enjoy your meal, whatever it may be, and welcome the new year with open arms and a hopeful heart.

Why Do We Eat Turkey During the Holidays?


Can you eat turkey on New Year’s Day?

As explained by the Victoria Advocate, the superstition goes that winged fowl like chickens or turkey scratch around in the dirt looking for their food, so if you consume these at the start of the year, you’ll likely be scratching in the dirt looking for food, money, and fortune for the next 12 months.

What meat to eat on New Year’s Day?

Eating pork on the New Year is supposed to inspire progress throughout the year to come, both because of pig’s girthy size (mmm, prosperity) and the fact that they root forward (rather than backward like chickens). On New Year’s, pork is often paired with cabbage in the form of sauerkraut, but we say, anything goes.

What are 3 foods that are eaten on New Year’s Day?

Greens, Black-Eyed Peas, Cornbread, and Ham | Photo by Meredith. You may not be superstitious, but why tempt fate? Dig into these traditional lucky foods on New Year’s Day to attract abundance and prosperity in the year ahead.

What should I avoid on New Year’s Day?

Don’t Eat Lobster, Crab or Chicken – Lobsters walk backwards; crabs walk sideways; and because chickens have wings, your good luck could “fly away.” Thought: Stick with the pig because he always moves forward – plus, I have a delicious pork chop recipe!

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