Every New Year’s Day I partake the tradition of eating Black-eyed Peas.
The meaning behind the tradition is one that dates back to slavery. By eating Black-eyed Peas on New Year’s Day you will be met with good luck and prosperity.
Black-eyed Peas, which symbolize wealth and good fortune, are often cooked with ham hocks,[the pig] representing luck, served with collard green, representing money, and a side of cornbread, representing gold.
One variation of the tradition is that by eating 365 Black-eyes Peas on the years first day will bring luck and prosperity all 365 days.
Now, do I really hold my future in a Black-eyed Pea? Of course not! But, it is a deeply rooted tradition, of which the meaning behind it is even deeper, and is as much a part of my ancestry (and struggle) as ‘Jumping the Broom’. It has no true merit but symbolic value.
With everything we have lost in the world in which we live today, as individuals, as a community, historically, and (for many) culturally, it’s comforting to be able to, at the very least, hold onto tradition.
So, on the first day of the coming year, just as we have done the first day of many years, me and my family will respectfully sit down at the dinner table, give thanks to the Almighty God for allowing us to make it through another year, ask Him to prepare us for the year to come, and enjoy a soulfully delicious bowl of Black-eyed Peas.
From me and my family to you and your family we would like to wish you all good luck, prosperity, and a happy new year!