Whew! We made it! This is the time of year when looking forward is the order of the day. There are so many traditions surrounding this time of year and throughout many cultures most of them bring good fortune, luck or an indication of things to come. If there is one thing that we could use it is “good” anything!
When the clock strikes midnight, the custom is to kiss someone you love or someone you’d like to love. After a little research it turns out kissing at the onset of a new year comes from a Roman pagan festival held in mid-December. Later, German and English folklore said that the first person you come “in contact with” in the new year “dictated that year's destiny.” Choosing who to kiss this year is easy, look to your personal bubble and kiss away.
A Southern tradition, the first food to be eaten on New Year's Day should be black-eyed peas, to experience luck and peace for the rest of the year. It is said one pea for each day of the year is most auspicious. To really ensure a good year, add a mess o' greens for wealth or, place a penny underneath the dishes — or, add extra pork, which is thought to bring more luck.
Don't like pork? Usually eaten on Christmas Eve, the Italian/American: Feast of the Seven Fishes is another tradition since fish only swim in one direction — forward, like the movement of time. And, represent abundance since they travel in schools. I love adding crab or lobster to a creamy Mac n Cheese recipe with a generous topping of Margot’s Morsels, of course. Try it…what could be better than champagne and a creamy crab Mac ‘n cheese. Or, have you tried the Vietnamese soup, Sup Cua Mang Tay, with crab and asparagus? Look for more recipes on our “recipes” page.
In Denmark, they literally leap into the new year. They step onto a chair and jump into the new year from their perch to bring good luck and leave bad spirits behind. I hope your chairs are sturdy.
Three Kings Day is 12 days after Christmas on January 6th recalls the Epiphany and visit of the 3 wise men to the newborn child in Bethlehem. In Hispanic households, the custom is to leave shoes out the night before to make sure they get gifts or candies from the Three Wise Men. And, along with that custom is the traditional Three Kings Cake (Rosca del Reyes), or bread, really. Baked into the candied fruit and nut covered bread is a ceramic doll. The custom is that the one that receives the doll in their piece will continue the celebration by providing the Candlemas Day celebration on February 2nd…and the party goes on!
These are just a few of the traditions from all around the world but food seems to be a common thread, all leading to good fortune or luck. Food binds us through memory and feeling. The smell of bread baking recalls one of those warm and cozy feelings, I get every time Milt bakes. Whether you are planning an evening on the couch watching movies and waking to a new year or, a late dinner that spans 2 years — yes, that’s a thing in some parts of the world — we, here at Margot’s Morsel’s wish you good fortune, health, happiness and a 2021 that will meet all your expectations. Happy New Year!
If you’d like me to cover something specific, just let me know at email@example.com. I’ll continue to tell you what’s happening in my kitchen and coax my husband, Milt, to guest blog on his baking adventures.