Why Do People Eat Black-Eyed Peas on New Year's Day?

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In many Southern states, consuming black-eyed peas on New Year's Day is supposed to bring prosperity and good luck. The black-eyed peas are usually part of a meal that includes pork, cornbread and often collard greens.

There are many different theories behind the practice of eating black-eyed peas on New Year's, but most of them agree that the tradition dates back to the Civil War. When served with collard, turnip or mustard greens, the black-eyed peas are supposed to represent coins while the greens represent paper money. The classic cornbread side is supposed to be representative of gold, while serving the peas with tomatoes is supposed to signify health and wealth. To ensure good luck for the entire upcoming year, people must eat a minimum of 365 black-eyed peas on New Year's day.