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Apples and Honey – Rosh Hashanah

Cultural New Year Foods

Instead of simply commemorating another year, the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah, meaning head of the year, celebrates the creation of the world. This day of introspection falls on the first day of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar – Sept 6, 2021, to be precise. On this holy day, people of the Jewish faith traditionally consume apple slices dipped in honey. Apples were thought to have healing properties by ancient Jews and honey is a sweet symbol of hope for a pleasant year ahead.

Pickled Herring – Poland

Cultural New Year Foods

Something smells fishy, especially in Poland and around the New Year. Pickled herring is Poland’s and several Scandinavian countries’ traditional food of choice. As fish is often symbolic of the concept of plenty, the Polish chow down on pickled herring at the stroke of midnight to welcome another year of abundance. The silver hue of the delicacy also adds to the symbolism of prosperity.

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Kuku Sabzi – Nowruz

Cultural New Year Foods

Which came first: the chicken or the egg? In the case of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, this omelette dish would be one of the first delicacies to usher each new year. Kuku Sabzi may sound crazy, with often a higher ratio of herbs, spices and greens to actual egg, but it is a staple in any Iranian household during the new year. The assortment of herbs represents rebirth and the eggs stand for fertility.

Tteokguk – South Korea

Cultural New Year Foods

According to the Lunar calendar, the world has eaten 2021 bowls of tteokguk. In South Korea, the question of just how many bowls is synonymous with asking someone’s age. To many, one cannot become older unless they have consumed their bowl of tteokguk in the New Year. Tteokguk is a soup dish with rice cakes served on Seollal, the Lunar New Year. The white of traditional rice cakes signifies purity and cleanliness to start the new year afresh, and their coin-like shape represents prosperity for the year to come.

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