If you had to sum up 2021 in a word, what would that be?
Unless you’ve been in a two-year coma, you’ll know that 2021 has been challenging, demanding, and stressful. Yet no single word can describe everything that happened this year, with Covid-19 continuing to spread around the world. After all, even in bad situations, there’s always a positive side.
We’ve gathered the different New Year’s Food Traditions of the Mediterranean region which promise to bring you luck in 2022. The foods symbolizing prosperity, long life, and wealth might differ from one culture to another, yet the main message of all these customs remains the same: enjoy food moments with your loved ones and hope for the best!
Lucky grapes: Spain. The first food ritual in the list originates from Spain. 12 grapes for every 12 months of the New Year, and the clock strikes respectively. When midnight comes, the clock tower in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square tolls twelve times. The crowd eats one grape per clock’s bell. This ritual started around the 20th century when Spain’s grape production was increased.
Lucky lentil soup: Italy. The next food tradition derives from Italy. Lentils date back to 8000 B.C. in northern Syria and was brought to America by the Portuguese and Spanish in the 16th century. A dish with lentils in the New Year’s feast is said to bring good fortune. Lentils’ round as a coin shape symbolize prosperity, and are frequently alongside pork sausage, as pigs also indicate good luck.
Lucky vasilopita cake: Greece . In Greece, vasilopita is served at midnight right after the year has changed. A secret coin is placed within the cake, giving luck to whosever slice it is in for the rest of the year. Here’s how to make it.
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Lucky pomegranate: Turkey. Pomegranate symbolizes prosperity and fertility. Breaking a pomegranate in your front door can reveal how lucky you will be in the upcoming year. According to the tradition, the more seeds on your doorstep, the luckier your year will be. The pomegranate has long been associated with prosperity in Turkey as well as in Greece, and many households will display ornaments depicting the fruit all year. These decorations also make a great Christmas present.
Lucky Galette des Rois cake: France. This cake “for kings” is a French tradition that usually takes place on the first Sunday of the year to celebrate the Epiphany. A ceramic charm is hidden in the Galette des Rois, which is called fève and funnily enough is translated as “bean”. The lucky guest who finds the charm in their slice is the king of the day. Puff pastry and frangipane, an almond-flavored paste, are commonly used to make the cake. Other flavors include lemon, chestnut, chocolate, and apple filling.