There are various superstitions and customs surrounding New Year's Eve depending on where you live in the world, but one of the more interesting ones is whether or not eating chicken on New Year's Eve will bring good or bad luck.
I’ve done a lot of research into this superstition and can confirm that it is said to be very bad luck to eat chicken or turkey on New Year’s Eve.
This is because poultry like chickens and turkeys scratch around in the dirt for food, so it’s said that anyone who eats these meats will also scratch around for good fortune in the coming year.
If you’re interested in New Year’s superstitions that will bring you good luck and want to know more about superstitions related to chickens, you’re going to enjoy this one!
Can You Eat Chicken on New Year’s Eve?
You can eat chicken on New Year’s Eve, of course you can. But if you’re superstitious and looking to go into the new year with every possible edge - you really shouldn’t.
It’s long been believed that eating chicken - or any fowl really - will bring bad luck. This is because birds scratch around in the dirt, and also because they scratch while moving backward.
These are two things that symbolize moving backward, not forward, which is symbolic for the year ahead.
The same is said about sea life like lobster, crab, and catfish. Lobster and crab move sideways, which again isn’t the positive forward-moving mindset you want to enter the new year with.
Catfish get a bad rap along with other bottom-feeding fish as this is believed to symbolize that you will also be a bottom-dweller in some form.
Related - Chicken wishbone superstitions and history explained.
Is Eating Chicken on New Years Bad Luck?
Yes, eating chicken on New Year’s Eve is considered bad luck. From roast chicken to chicken wings and turkey, you should avoid all poultry on New Year’s.
This also applies to New Year’s Day. If you’re a huge fan of chicken, if there are two days in the year when you should go ‘cold turkey’ (excuse the pun), then it’s these two days.
On the plus side, in the U.S. chicken isn’t the go-to food for New Year’s parties, so this shouldn’t come up too often.
What Foods Bring Good Luck on New Year’s Eve?
Cracking open a nice bottle of bubbly and eating party food is traditional New Year’s Eve food and drink.
But if we’re talking specifically about what foods you can eat to bring you good luck in the new year, some of the most well-known foods are:
Yellow foods - Yellow foods, in general, are believed to bring you good luck. This is because yellow symbolizes gold and wealth, which of course is something you want in your future.
Pork/Bacon - This superstition is almost entirely rooted in the south, but eating pork or bacon is believed to bring good luck.
This is based on the fact that pigs move forward while looking for food, the opposite reason as to why eating chicken is seen as bad luck.
Cornbread - This is another southern one and follows on from the yellow food tip above. Cornbread is a traditional food on New Year’s Eve as it symbolizes gold and wealth and is believed to bring good luck.
Black-eyed peas and greens - If you want to put even more good luck on your side, then you should also serve up black-eyed peas and greens like collard greens, kale, green beans, etc.
This is because there is a saying in the south that goes, “peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.”
Soba - Eating toshikoshi soba on New Year’s Eve is a Japanese tradition, and it’s something I’ve eaten more than once.
Translated, toshikoshi means “year crossing noodle” and eating it symbolizes pouting all the hardships of the year behind you and looking forward to a better year ahead.
Grapes - This is a Spanish tradition that is also followed in some Latin American countries. Eating 12 grapes on New Year’s Eve is said to bring good luck and prosperity in the coming year.
Now you know what you should and should not eat this New Year’s Eve if you want to give yourself the best possible good fortune for the next year.
Chicken is firmly off the menu. Your best ‘best-luck’ meal would be cornbread with black-eye peas and collard greens, with some pork sausages, and a side serving of grapes.
I’m not sure how well all of that translates into a meal, but it checks most of the boxes for setting yourself up for a prosperous New Year according to some of the most popular traditions and superstitions around the world.
Image credits - Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash
Lucky New Year’s Soba - Iamafoodblog.com