Why are collard greens and black-eyed peas considered ‘good luck’ meals for the New Year?

Updated: Jan. 1, 2020 at 12:38 AM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - There are many ways you can bring in the new year. Some will start 2020 by focusing on personal New Year’s resolutions, and others will eat a special meal in hopes to bring good fortune.

Why do so many people believe eating certain southern foods sets the tone for a new year? Two words: history and tradition. There are theories, but no one really knows why some foods are considered to bring good luck in the new year.

At Mert’s Heart and Soul in Uptown, some claimed to know why it has become this superstitious unwritten rule.

No one at WBTV is psychic, but we know what you and many others will be eating on New Year’s Day.

“Black-eyed peas, stew tomatoes and collard greens,” said Dawn Patrick.

Patrick says for her, it isn’t just a traditional southern classic meal. There’s a special reason behind it that’s been passed down for generations.

“I’m 50-plus years old and it’s something I’ve done my whole life,” Patrick added.

The exact same thing can be said for Dwayne Whitaker who said he’ll be adding neck bones to top off his crafted meal for the new year.

“It’s just something my grandma has always done, my mom and it’s just a tradition that I’ll keep going,” said Whitaker.

It’s a tradition that symbolic. Each food is a representation of good things that are to come.

“Black-eyed peas, that brings good luck in for the new year. You gotta have collard greens, that brings in money,” Beverly Wilson mentioned.

Wilson typically cooks for her husband and three sons. She says there’s never been a year when she hasn’t kept up the new year tradition because she says there’s too much they all could miss out on if she doesn’t.

“You gotta have macaroni and cheese, the gold brings good luck. Candied yams is a history of good fortune as well,” she added.

Cabbage and cornbread is on that magical menu too. There are those who say they are skeptical because they’ve never seen legit proof of the meal working in anyone’s favor.

“My family made the collard greens and the black-eyed peas. I never really partook in it because I didn’t see any of my people get rich,” said Brandon Smith.

No matter what your first meal of the New Year might be, we all can agree that we want to prosper and are looking to achieve great thing in 2020.

“Health and wealth to my family, to my loved ones," Smith said.

If you’re looking for a traditional meal for some good luck, Mert’s will be on New Year’s Day starting at 10 a.m. with a brunch special.

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