Sauerkraut on New Year's Day

In Eastern Belgium, where I come from, it is customary to eat cooked sauerkraut with sausages on New Year’s Day.

Practically every family I knew growing up did so and people unwilling to cook can still easily get it at many restaurants throughout the region. It is also the only culinary tradition that I’ve kept after I moved to Brussels. I just had some a few hours ago. It’s not as good as the one my parents made, mainly due to lack of access to the best ingredients, but it sure was all right. A great way to start the year.

Does anyone else do this or at least has heard of that tradition ? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was also popular in Germany and Eastern France, but I don’t know really.

Never heard of it.
We eat lentils to ensure prosperity in the new year.

I could eat sauerkraut with sausages every day.

But New Year’s is for Hopping John — black-eyed peas and rice, seasoned with smoked pork — and a mess of greens. “Eat poor on New Year’s, eat rich the rest of the year.”

Yeah, sauerkraut is a “thing” in our family for New Years. And we’ve got a bit of German/Dutch in us, too.

Now, that’s funny : this is also the traditional reason to eat sauerkraut at Christmas here.

Tourtière is my go-to for New Year’s.

In my family, it’s sauerkraut and roast pork at New Year’s (though we’ll have sauerkraut and kielbasi at various other times). It probably comes from my grandmother, who was of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry. It’s not a tradition that matters much to me (when I was living far from family, I didn’t bother), but it’s what Mom will be making tonight.

On my mother’s side of the family, it was black-eyed peas. Nobody else in the family liked them, so we opted for the Mexican tradition of pozole, a pork-and-hominy stew.

We also do sauerkraut and pork. I was told years ago that it’s a tradition done for good luck in the New Year, but I have no idea where that comes from.

It was a thing where I grew up in western PA. It’s stuck in my mind sufficiently that although I’ve long been living in in the Houston area, I’m having kielbasa and sauerkraut tonight.

I didn’t actually stop to consider that there were designated new year meals. Growing up, it was always a family party type thing, so cheese and crackers, little weenies in a grape jelly based BBQ sauce, some home made cheese puffs, and things like that.

The idea of sauerkraut with sausages actually sounds quite awesome. I’m going to try to see if I can have the new Alexa remind me of that next year.

Yup, black-eyed peas for my Mom’s family as well (Southern Missouri). And good luck and prosperity was the mooted reason.

Never heard of it, oddly enough I made sauerkraut and chorizo on a whim today. It was awesome!
Maybe I’ll start my own tradition.

Pork and Sauerkraut on New Year’s is the way it’s donein the state of Ohio-- as de rigueur as turkey on Thanksgiving day!


When I was a kid, there were three things that were completely associated with New Year’s Day :

1 - Cooked sauerkraut and sausages.
2 - The Vienna New Year’s Concert.
3 - The ski jumping contest at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.


In Maryland we had sauerkraut at Thanksgiving, and blackeyed peas and greens at New Year. The latter is intended to look like money and therefore is a symbolic magical evocation of prosperity. What is represented by sauerkraut, other than the previous high German ancestry of Baltimore, I cannot say.

There are many like-minded New Year’s Eve culinary traditions both in Europe and the U.S.

**Sauerkraut **or smothered cabbage or **greens **or cole slaw – represents money.

Black-eyed peas or hoppin’ john or lentils – commonly represents prosperity and/or luck. A less common interpretation is that the black-eyed peas resemble pennies, and thus also represent money (maybe this is a more common interpretation in areas where lentils are traditional?).

Pork (roast pork, pickled pork, ham, sausages, etc.) – commonly represents health.

Commonly (at least in Louisiana and Mississippi), **cornbread **is served as well, representing gold. Kinda overlaps money, I suppose.

The specific New Year’s Eve meal in the New Orleans area is black-eyed peas (cooked with pickled pork and pork sausage) over rice**, either cole slaw or greens, and cornbread. Greens are more common in local African-American homes, cole slaw is more common otherwise. Roast pork or a ham is sometimes served as well, though the pork added to the black-eyed peas is generally copious. A small minority of local homes will also serve smothered cabbage (more added pork!) either in lieu of or on the side of the cole slaw.

** for whatever reason, black-eyed peas over rice isn’t called “hoppin’ john” here.

My spouse’s family (hence my spouse) always eats pickled herring on New Year’s Day for “luck”. Supposedly an Irish thing.

Never heard of sauerkraut with sausages on New Year’s Day, although it’s a tradition I’d be happy to begin honoring.

I’ve been reminded all day today that, while sauerkraut might or might not guarantee prosperity in the new year, it does guarantee productivity. Of a sort.