Ring in the New Year with these traditional lucky foods.
Photography: LAURA MOSS1 of 9
In Spain, revelers mark the New Year by quickly eating a dozen grapes at midnight. The fruits are said to be a predictor of the year ahead: Each sweet grape represents a good month, each sour grape a less-than-lucky one. Adopt the tradition by threading grapes onto skewers, and serve each in a glass of Champagne just before the countdown.
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In the South, eating black-eyed peas shows humility and thus invites good fortune.
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In Italy, lentils are served because an abundance of the tiny edible seeds symbolizes wealth.
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Foods in the shape of a ring are thought to bring good luck, possibly because they symbolize "coming full circle."
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A coin baked into bread is said to bring luck to the person who finds it.
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One of Japan's most beloved foods, soba, or buckwheat noodles, are customarily eaten at midnight on December 31, when they are called toshi-koshi ("from one year to another") soba. The noodles symbolize longevity, so the longer they are, the better.
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Foods shaped like coins are thought to bring prosperity to those who eat them.
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Ham, because of its fat, is served to bring a New Year rich with happiness.
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A side of cornbread (with your ham, of course) represents the glories of gold.