With New Year’s Day almost upon us, it’s a great time to discover new and different traditions that cultures across the world participate in during this joyous time. Americans have many different traditions, from watching a ball drop on television to celebrating with family and friends until the stroke of midnight. Each family may also have their own traditions passed down from their ancestors as well, incorporating their various cultural beliefs into their yearly celebration. This collection of celebratory food from across the globe may remind you of things you do at home or will allow you a glimpse into the lives of others, while we all usher in a New Year.
The American South
Traditionally in the American South, many people will cook and eat a large bowl of black eyed peas and in a dish known as Hoppin’ John. Also known as Carolina peas and rice, this low-country food has spread throughout the region and can be found in many homes across the region and in restaurants during the first week of the year. Interested in making your own? You can try the delicious recipe from chef Terry Bryant’s Vegan Soul Kitchen. Want to turn it into dinner and a movie? Check out the classic film Soul Food. Watch the trailer here.
Nochevieja is a great time to break out the masa and make tamales. Also a wonderful Christmas staple, these delicious corn based patties are filled with either meat, beans or vegetables, and steamed or boiled inside of a corn husk. Due to the nature of these labor intensive treats, they can turn into their own party as a group of people works towards making a huge batch. You can find a recipe for tamales in chef Bricia Lopez’ Oaxaca, and check out Canela: A Family’s Recipe to make it a movie night. You can watch the trailer here.
Oíche Chinn Bliana is a great time to deep clean the home and bake a loaf of barmbrack or raisin bread for the family. This traditional loaf is done in many parts of Ireland and on New Year’s Eve it is traditional for the head of the household to take three pieces of the bread and throw them at the door to ward poverty and hunger in the New Year. You can learn how to make barmbrack using Paul Hollywood’s recipe in British Baking and pair it with Sing Street for a night the whole family can enjoy. Watch the trailer here.
Capodanno is a great night to have a cenone or great feast with your family. Many different dishes will be served that represent different aspects of the New Year, such as lentils for prosperity or capelleti (hats) in broth to cap off the New Year. If you would like to create a cenone of your own, check out chef Lidia Bastianich’s Felidia: Recipes from my Flagship Restaurant and pair it with the film An Almost Ordinary Summer for a great night. Check out the trailer here.
Since 1873, Shōgatsu has been the most important holiday of the year in the Japanese calendar. It’s a time to start fresh, with a clean slate, to get your right foot forward for the rest of the year. One of the traditional foods of shōgatsu is the delicious toshikoshi soba, whose long noodles represent longevity. If you are interested in trying delicious Japanese recipes, you can check out Tadashi Oto and Harris Salat’s Japanese Soul Cooking. Looking for a film to pair? Check out this trailer for Sweet Bean and take it home today!
Media noche is the time for a great family feast where many different foods will be shared to celebrate the coming year. Dishes such as camaron rebosado, tikoy, lumpia, and round fruits are shared with guests and create a wonderful gastronomic send off for the previous year. You can make your own media noche feast by following recipes from chef Alvin Cailan’s Amboy. You can pair this with the food documentary Ulam: Main Dish and you can watch the trailer here.
Have a Happy New Year!