When Do You Eat Pork and Sauerkraut?

New Year’s Day is the time to indulge in the delectable tradition of pork and sauerkraut, a culinary custom steeped in symbolism and folklore. This practice, particularly prevalent in German culture, is believed to bring prosperity and good fortune in the year to come.

The Origins of the Tradition

The tradition of consuming pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day can be traced back to ancient German folklore. Sauerkraut, a fermented cabbage dish, was believed to represent wealth and abundance due to its resemblance to coins. The pig, on the other hand, symbolized good luck and progress. By partaking in this meal, individuals hoped to attract these positive attributes into their lives for the upcoming year.

The Symbolism of Pork and Sauerkraut

Pork: The pig has long been revered as a symbol of good fortune and prosperity in various cultures. Its association with wealth stems from its ability to root in the earth, unearthing valuable resources. Additionally, the pig’s plump physique represents abundance and nourishment.

Sauerkraut: Sauerkraut, with its intricate strands of fermented cabbage, is believed to symbolize wealth and prosperity. The numerous shreds of cabbage are likened to coins, representing the abundance of wealth desired in the new year.

The Ritual of Eating Pork and Sauerkraut

Traditionally, pork and sauerkraut are consumed on New Year’s Day as part of a festive meal. Before indulging in the meal, participants often engage in a ritual of wishing each other prosperity and good fortune. They express their hopes that the year ahead will be as bountiful as the shreds of cabbage in the sauerkraut and as fortunate as the pig itself.

Variations of the Tradition

While pork and sauerkraut remain the classic combination, some variations of this tradition exist. In certain regions, people substitute pork with other meats such as ham or sausage. Additionally, some individuals opt for a vegetarian alternative by replacing pork with tofu or tempeh.

A Culinary Delicacy

Beyond its symbolic significance, pork and sauerkraut is a delectable dish that tantalizes taste buds. The savory flavors of the pork pair harmoniously with the tangy, slightly sour notes of the sauerkraut. This culinary delight can be enjoyed on its own or accompanied by other traditional New Year’s Day dishes such as mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, or dumplings.

A Recipe for Good Fortune

If you wish to embrace this auspicious tradition, here’s a simple recipe for pork and sauerkraut:


  • 1 pound boneless pork loin roast
  • 1 (16-ounce) can sauerkraut, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Season pork loin with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large skillet, brown the pork loin on all sides.
  4. Transfer the pork loin to a baking dish.
  5. In the same skillet, sauté the onion until softened.
  6. Add sauerkraut, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and caraway seeds to the skillet. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Pour the sauerkraut mixture over the pork loin in the baking dish.
  8. Bake for 1 hour, or until the pork loin is cooked through.
  9. Serve hot and enjoy the flavors of prosperity and good fortune.

Indulging in pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day is a time-honored tradition that symbolizes wealth, prosperity, and good luck. Whether you partake in the ritualistic wishes or simply savor the delectable flavors, this culinary custom offers a delicious and meaningful way to welcome the new year.

Why eat Pork & Sauerkraut for New Year’s Day?


What holiday do you eat pork and sauerkraut?

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — While it’s not uncommon to see pork and sauerkraut on the New Year’s Day menu in any state, it’s a dish that’s been celebrated by Pennsylvanians for decades.

What is the tradition of pork and sauerkraut?

Germans have been eating pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s for generations because they believe it brings good luck (viel glück in German). As these kraut lovers immigrated to the Midwest, they brought their traditions with them, including this one.

Why do Germans eat pork on new year’s Day?

Pork was believed to bring good luck because “the pig roots forward” for its food, as opposed to the backward scratching of an animal like a chicken. The Germans also believed that if the pork was rich in fat, it would signify prosperity in life, according to Stoltzfus Meats, a Pa. Dutch food company.

Is pork and sauerkraut on new year’s a Polish tradition?

The origin of eating pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Germans and other pig-raising cultures have been eating these dishes for centuries, with immigrants bringing the tradition to the United States in the 17th and 18th centuries. People of Czech, Hungarian and Polish ancestry enjoy the food pairing as well.

Leave a Comment