What Do Tennesseans Eat on New Year’s Day for Good Luck?

In Tennessee, there are traditional foods that are believed to bring good luck for the upcoming year. Some of these foods include black-eyed peas, greens, and cornbread. Eating black-eyed peas is said to bring pennies, while greens bring dollars, and cornbread brings gold. This tradition dates back centuries and is still followed by many Tennesseans today.

Key Takeaways:

  • Tennesseans have a tradition of eating certain foods on New Year’s Day for good luck.
  • Black-eyed peas, greens, and cornbread are considered lucky foods in Tennessee.
  • Eating black-eyed peas is believed to bring wealth, while greens symbolize money and cornbread represents prosperity.
  • These food traditions have been passed down through generations and continue to be celebrated in Tennessee.
  • Other cultures around the world also have their own traditions for New Year’s Day.

The Significance of Black-Eyed Peas in Tennessee

In Tennessee, black-eyed peas hold great significance as a good luck food for New Year’s Day. These humble legumes are believed to bring prosperity and fortune for the entire year. Many people in Tennessee make a traditional dish called Hoppin’ John, which is a delicious mixture of black-eyed peas, pork, and rice. The combination of these ingredients symbolizes wealth and progress, making it a staple in Southern cuisine.

The tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day dates back centuries in Tennessee. It is believed that the peas resemble coins, and by consuming them, one is ensuring a year of financial abundance. Whether enjoyed as part of a hearty meal or as a side dish, black-eyed peas are a beloved and meaningful addition to the New Year’s Day feast in Tennessee.

New Year’s Day Food in Tennessee Symbolism
Black-eyed peas Prosperity and fortune
Greens Luck and money
Cornbread Wealth and gold

Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is a longstanding tradition in Tennessee that brings hope and optimism for the future.

So, this New Year’s Day, don’t forget to include black-eyed peas in your meal to start the year off with a dose of good luck. Whether you believe in the tradition or simply enjoy the taste, these little legumes are sure to add a touch of Southern charm to your celebrations!

The Tradition of Greens in Tennessee

Alongside black-eyed peas, greens are also considered an essential part of the New Year’s Day meal in Tennessee. Collard greens, mustard greens, and boiled cabbage are commonly served as a symbol of luck and money. The green color represents wealth, and it is believed that eating greens on New Year’s Day will bring financial prosperity in the coming year. Many Tennesseans include greens in their traditional New Year’s Day meal to ensure good luck and fortune.

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One popular way to prepare greens is by cooking them with bacon or ham hock for added flavor. Simmering the greens for a longer period of time helps to tenderize them and enhance their taste. Some people also add a dash of vinegar or hot sauce to add a tangy kick to the dish. Greens are typically served as a side dish alongside other traditional New Year’s Day foods like black-eyed peas and cornbread.

The Health Benefits of Greens

Not only are greens considered lucky, but they are also packed with nutrients and health benefits. Collard greens, for example, are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and fiber. Mustard greens are a good source of calcium, iron, and antioxidants. Eating greens on New Year’s Day not only brings good luck, but it also provides a nutritious start to the year.

Greens Health Benefits
Collard greens Rich in vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and fiber
Mustard greens Good source of calcium, iron, and antioxidants
Cabbage High in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants

“Eating greens on New Year’s Day has been a cherished tradition in Tennessee for generations. It’s not just about luck and prosperity, but also about coming together as a community and enjoying a delicious meal that honors our heritage.” – Local Tennessean

So, whether you’re a believer in the luck of the greens or simply looking for a tasty way to start the year, adding greens to your New Year’s Day meal is a Southern tradition worth embracing. Not only will you be partaking in a time-honored custom, but you’ll also be nourishing your body with nutrient-packed greens that offer numerous health benefits. So, go ahead and serve up a plate of collard greens or mustard greens alongside your black-eyed peas and cornbread for a meal that is both delicious and lucky.

The Importance of Cornbread in Tennessee

Cornbread is another staple of the New Year’s Day meal in Tennessee. The golden color of cornbread represents wealth and gold for the new year. It is often served alongside black-eyed peas and greens to complete the traditional meal. Cornbread is a beloved Southern food and is enjoyed throughout the year, but it holds special significance on New Year’s Day as a symbol of prosperity and good fortune.

One popular type of cornbread in Tennessee is the skillet cornbread, made with cornmeal, buttermilk, eggs, and bacon drippings. It has a moist and crumbly texture and is best served warm. The combination of sweet and savory flavors makes it a perfect accompaniment to the main dishes of the New Year’s Day meal.

Not only is cornbread delicious, but it also has historical significance in Tennessee. Corn was a staple crop in the Southern United States, and cornbread was a common food among early settlers. It became a symbol of sustenance and survival, and its inclusion in the New Year’s Day meal is a way to honor those traditions and pay homage to the rich history of Tennessee.

foods associated with good fortune on new year's day in tennessee

Table: Cornbread Recipe

Ingredients Instructions
1 cup cornmeal Preheat the oven to 425°F and grease a cast-iron skillet.
1 cup buttermilk In a mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs.
2 tablespoons sugar Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder Pour the batter into the greased skillet and smooth the top.
1/2 teaspoon baking soda Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
1/2 teaspoon salt Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.
1/4 cup melted butter Serve warm and enjoy!
2 eggs, beaten
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Other Food Traditions for Good Luck in Tennessee

In addition to the traditional New Year’s Day foods like black-eyed peas, greens, and cornbread, there are other food traditions in Tennessee believed to bring good luck for the upcoming year. These additional dishes and ingredients add variety and symbolism to the festive meal.

The Lucky Pork

In many cultures, including Tennessee, pork is considered a lucky food for New Year’s Day. It is believed to symbolize progress and richness. Tennesseans often include pork in their New Year’s Day meal, whether in the form of ham, bacon, or sausage. The consumption of pork is thought to invite prosperity and abundance for the year ahead.

Grapes for Luck

Some Tennesseans also incorporate grapes into their New Year’s Day traditions, following the Spanish and Mexican custom of eating 12 grapes at midnight. Each grape represents a month of the year, and eating them quickly is believed to bring good fortune. This tradition is an opportunity to reflect on the past year and set intentions for the upcoming one.

These additional food traditions add depth and meaning to the New Year’s Day meal in Tennessee. Whether it’s enjoying a plate of lucky pork or savoring 12 grapes at midnight, these customs are cherished as a way to welcome good luck and prosperity as the new year begins.

tennessee new year food traditions

In addition to these unique dishes, Tennesseans also enjoy the traditional foods like black-eyed peas, greens, and cornbread on New Year’s Day. The combination of flavors, symbolism, and cultural significance of these foods makes the New Year’s Day meal in Tennessee a special and cherished tradition.

So, whether you’re enjoying a plate of Hoppin’ John, savoring a slice of Vasilopita cake, or trying out the Smoky Mountain Sushi, these unique New Year’s Day foods in Tennessee are sure to bring a taste of good luck and prosperity to your celebrations.

Good Luck Foods from Around the World

While Tennesseans have their own traditions for New Year’s Day, there are also good luck foods eaten around the world on this day. It’s fascinating to see how different cultures embrace the belief that certain foods can bring prosperity and fortune in the coming year.

Italian Tradition: Lentils

In Italy, lentils are considered a symbol of coins and are believed to bring financial abundance. Italians enjoy a hearty dish of lentils with pork sausage on New Year’s Day to ensure good luck and prosperity throughout the year.

Asian Customs: Noodles and Rice

In many Asian countries, noodles and rice are associated with longevity and wealth. Eating long noodles on New Year’s Day is believed to bring a long and prosperous life, while rice symbolizes abundance and good fortune.

Fish as a Symbol of Luck

Fish is considered lucky in many cultures due to its association with abundance and forward movement. In some countries, like Japan, it is customary to eat fish dishes on New Year’s Day to attract good luck and success in the coming year.

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Mediterranean Charm: Pomegranate

In Mediterranean countries, the pomegranate is seen as a symbol of abundance and fertility. Many households in these regions serve pomegranates on New Year’s Day, believing it will bring luck and prosperity for the year ahead.

Country Lucky Food Symbolism
Italy Lentils Financial abundance
Asia Noodles and Rice Longevity and wealth
Various Fish Abundance and progress
Mediterranean Pomegranate Abundance and fertility

These global traditions show the diversity of beliefs and customs surrounding New Year’s Day. Whether you choose to stick to Tennessee’s traditional lucky foods or incorporate these international delicacies into your celebration, the common thread is the hope for a prosperous and fortunate year ahead.

lucky food to eat in tennessee on january 1st


Celebrating New Year’s Day with special foods is a time-honored tradition in Tennessee. From black-eyed peas and greens to cornbread and unique dishes like Smoky Mountain Sushi, Tennesseans believe that these foods will bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year. These Southern food traditions are passed down through generations, keeping the spirit of hope and fortune alive.

Whether you follow these traditions or simply enjoy a delicious meal, New Year’s Day in Tennessee is a time to reflect, set intentions, and embrace the belief that good luck is just a bite away.

So why not join in on the fun and incorporate these Southern food traditions into your own New Year’s Day celebrations? Whether you’re a native Tennessean or just want to experience the rich cultural heritage of the South, these dishes are sure to bring good luck and a taste of tradition to your table. So gather your loved ones, prepare a feast, and savor the flavors that have been bringing luck and prosperity to Tennesseans for centuries.


What foods do Tennesseans eat on New Year’s Day for good luck?

Tennesseans traditionally eat black-eyed peas, greens, and cornbread for good luck on New Year’s Day.

What is the significance of black-eyed peas in Tennessee?

Black-eyed peas are believed to bring prosperity and fortune for the entire year.

Why are greens considered essential on New Year’s Day in Tennessee?

Greens are believed to bring financial prosperity in the coming year.

What is the importance of cornbread in Tennessee?

Cornbread is a symbol of wealth and gold for the new year.

Are there other food traditions for good luck in Tennessee?

Yes, some Tennesseans also follow traditions of eating pork and grapes for good luck on New Year’s Day.

Are there any unique New Year’s Day foods in Tennessee?

Yes, Tennessee has unique dishes like “Smoky Mountain Sushi” and Vasilopita cake for New Year’s Day.

What are some good luck foods from around the world?

Italians eat lentils, Asians eat noodles and rice, and fish is considered lucky in many cultures.

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My name is Sandra, and I am the head content creator of isitgoodluck.com. We created this website to share our thoughts and experiences on the topic of luck and to explore the many different ways people think about and talk about luck in their lives.

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