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These New Year's Day foods are said to bring good luck, health and wealth

Every January 1, we pile our plates with pork, black-eyed peas, greens and cornbread.
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Black-eyed peas, greens and cornbread represent money and are traditional New Year's Day foods.

NORTH CAROLINA, USA — On New Year’s Day in the south, it’s all about what’s for supper. Collard greens, black-eyed peas, pork and cornbread are all staples for the traditional first-day-of-the-year meal. They’re said to bring good health, wealth and luck.

It isn’t quite clear when or why these foods became New Year’s Day staples, but according to southern food researcher John Egerton’s Southern Food: At Home, On the Road, In History, black-eyed peas are associated with a “mystical and mythical power to bring good luck.” The legume originated from West Africa and has often been included in meals for special occasions. Many believe the swelling of the cooked bean symbolizes the increasing of good fortunes.

Here are the New Year’s Day classics and what they are said to represent:

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