Tonight is Silvesterabend,
December 31, 2001 10:24 AM   Subscribe

Tonight is Silvesterabend, the last night of the year. While some feel that champagne and huge, rollicking parties are in order, others feel that quieter times with family and friends are the way to go. Of course, you must also have your pork and sauerkraut for good luck (my mother always asks to make sure I have) and a little Bleigiessen, or fortune telling by pouring molten lead into a liquid, for entertainment. Personally I think champagne tastes like ass so I'll be drinking bottled Gluhwein from my friend's winery.
posted by RevGreg (18 comments total)
Did anyone else's mom tell them to eat black-eyed peas tomorrow, for good luck? Or was my mom just crazy.

Those two things aren't mutually exclusive, I realize.
posted by Doug at 10:43 AM on December 31, 2001 [1 favorite]

Black-eyed peas are a New Year's tradition in the South. So your mom's not crazy, at least in the black-eyed pea department.
posted by kittyloop at 11:11 AM on December 31, 2001 [1 favorite]

Mmm, Gl├╝hwein; drinking a couple of mugs of the stuff while strolling through the Weinachtmarkt (xmas market)near the Alster was pretty much the only time when I felt that living in Hamburg didn't suck.
posted by MrBaliHai at 11:17 AM on December 31, 2001 [1 favorite]

My ex-girlfriend was from Virginia and I remember her saying something about eating black-eyed peas on New Year's for good luck. It seems that there's a different tradition no matter where you go! Since I love pork and sauerkraut anyway, the German tradition is a great excuse to eat it - but black-eyed peas are pretty kickass if they're made right.
posted by RevGreg at 11:28 AM on December 31, 2001 [1 favorite]

And don't forget the collard greens. Oh, how I miss collard greens.
posted by likorish at 11:45 AM on December 31, 2001 [1 favorite]

Hoppin' John (black-eyed peas and rice), greens, cornbread (with the corn my uncle grew this summer that I canned my own self, yay), and grilled pork loin are on the menu for tomorrow.

I have eaten Hoppin John every New Year's Day I have been on Earth. When I was 6 months old, my mother gave me a bite my first New Year's. Even when I was out of the country, I found a way to have it.

posted by ebarker at 12:56 PM on December 31, 2001

In Portugal we eat twelve raisins, one for every month of the year, standing on top of a chair. Collard greens and black-eyed peas also feature heavily.

Boy, I'd never thought globalization had got this far already.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:32 PM on December 31, 2001

I once watched a black-eyed girl pee
posted by Postroad at 2:48 PM on December 31, 2001

In Portugal we eat twelve raisins, one for every month of the year, standing on top of a chair.

I hope you aren't kidding, Miguel, 'cause I'm going to believe this. I mean, you could pretty much make anything up, and I'd have to believe you.
posted by Doug at 2:52 PM on December 31, 2001

It's not only true, but 100% of people do it. The only correction is it doesn't have to be a chair you stand on. It can be anything, as long as you're higher than the floor.
Falling off is bad luck - that's why drinking usually begins at midnight too.
My daughters, who hate raisins - they tend to be those SunMaid Californian ones! - put them all in their mouthes at the same time and just yesterday I told them off because of it.
You have to swallow one for each of the last twelve rings(seconds)of the old year. They're called "badaladas".

But one day I will make something up! Happy New Year, Doug!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:29 PM on December 31, 2001 [2 favorites]

I have the black-eyed peas with ham, collard greens and cornbread cooked and ready for the table. Come on down to Texas and eat.
posted by bjgeiger at 5:48 PM on December 31, 2001

I have the Hoppin' John ready to go in San Francisco. I was born in New Orleans and grew up in Atlanta, and like ebarker above, have eaten this every year of my life. I usually fix it like Cajun red beans and rice, with optional sides like stewed tomatos, diced red onion, grated cheddar cheese and lots of hot sauce. You put a penny in the bean pot, and whoever winds up with the penny will have extra good fortune in the new year.
posted by JParker at 2:11 AM on January 1, 2002

Collard greens, black-eyed peas and sauerkraut, all cooked with some big old dead piggy parts thrown in for "flavour" and people wonder why Jews have their own new year. Heh. The only tradition around here is waffles for breakfast on the first, so I'm off now to whip up the batter...
posted by Dreama at 4:30 AM on January 1, 2002

Actually, I cook my collards with smoked turkey. Same for my black eyed peas. Nary a piggy part to be found, and they taste every bit as good.
posted by likorish at 3:32 PM on January 1, 2002 [1 favorite]

I did the raisin thing! Next year, I'm going to do it with prunes, for EXTRA good luck.
posted by Doug at 3:48 PM on January 1, 2002

I had lentil soup, with big chunks of ham. Can I get partial credit?
posted by rodii at 4:15 PM on January 1, 2002

I had lentil soup, with big chunks of ham. Can I get partial credit?

Actually, many German celebrations involve lentil based soups also so I guess we can give you a mulligan on this one!
posted by RevGreg at 1:20 PM on January 2, 2002 [1 favorite]


Looks like the Spaniards also follow the same custom:

"Lucky Food in Spain

A magnificently large harvest only happens every so often, and when it does, the year that the harvest blossomed is celebrated. At the turn of the century, Spain experienced a gigantic grape harvest. The harvest was so grandiose that the year is marked as a time of great luck. Every year since, Spanish people have brought in the New Year by eating 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight. At each strike of the Plaza del Sol clock (which is broadcast to the entire country much like the United States broadcasts the Time's Square clock), another grape is eaten in celebration of lucky years past, and in hope of a lucky year to come."

(from this site on Lucky Foods )

So your year should be doubly dandy. Or at least you know which Peninsula to blame if it isn't.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:28 PM on January 7, 2002 [1 favorite]

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