Traditions run deep in southern families. They’re the core of most of our celebrations and family gatherings. And they’re particularly strong during the Christmas and New Year’s seasons.

Today I cooked and ate a meal nearly identical to the same meal I’ve eaten on January 1 for my entire 55 years. A few items may change, but the constants on the plate are black-eyed peas and greens. Tradition says that those two dishes bring good luck and prosperity for the New Year. Black-eyed peas represent coins and greens represent dollars (or “folding money” as my Daddy used to say). The more you eat, the more of each you are to have during the New Year.

There’s more to the peas and greens tradition than the wish for wealth, though. This is humble food. For some of us it is a reminder of where and from whom we came. The humble, but filling and satisfying, food that our farming ancestors provided for their families during the cold winter months. Humble food, humbly but graciously prepared and gratefully received by hard-working, humble families.

I know full well from where I come. I come from some of those humble, hard working, farming folks who appreciated what their Mamas put on the table for them. And I thank every one of them, the ones who came before, the ones who I knew and now miss, and the ones who are still here with us, for their part in making me who I am today.

From our home to yours, a very blessed and prosperous New Year!


  1. Miss P says

    Yes, traditions are strong. I prepared a very similar meal – turnip greens, black eye peas, chicken pot pie, and corn bread. We had three other couples as guests for lunch (remember that the earlier in the day you eat this, the earlier in the year you have your good luck). May all of our traditions prove true and strong in 2010.

    Miss P

  2. Neena says

    Your comments on family warm my heart. Thankful that all of my children carry on the Traditions that they grew up with. A Blessed New Year to all.

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