Ushering in a new year, if you’re from some parts of Pennsylvania, means a delicious New Year’s Day meal that is said to bring good luck, wealth, and happiness in the coming days. This Pennsylvania superstition started with the Pennsylvania Dutch and has, over time, become a tradition in many homes throughout PA.
Pennsylvanians across the state celebrate the first day of the new year with a hearty meal of pork and sauerkraut, a popular German dish. How this superstition turned Pennsylvania tradition first got its start stems from the Pennsylvania Dutch.
Timing plays a predominant role in how both pork and sauerkraut became starring roles in this popular Pennsylvania superstition. Pork earned its spot as the meat dish of New Year's Day simply because the time leading up to the holiday season was prime butchering season of pigs. That generally meant there would be an abundance of fresh pork, making it the ideal meal for both Christmas and New Year's Day.
Sauerkraut was a natural choice for a side with pork. Locals harvested cabbage in the fall months, making it easily accessible. To make the sauerkraut, the cabbage required sufficient time – of up to two months – to ferment.
While timing plays a big role in why pork and sauerkraut are served on New Year's Day, there's also the superstition that goes along with it.
Superstition says that pork brings good luck because when a pig roots for food, he does so by pushing forward, which contrasts with chickens (who kick backwards, signifying bad luck), and cows (who simply stand motionless when eating). Because pigs push forward when rooting, eating a pork dish signifies that you will make progress in your life in the coming year.
Add as much sauerkraut to your dish as you can handle, at least if you want to financially prosper and enjoy a long life. The green color of the cabbage, prior to fermenting, signifies money so the more you eat, the more money you will have in 2017. Eat as many of the longest pieces of sauerkraut you can if you want to live a long life.
The New Year's Day tradition of eating pork and sauerkraut has become so popular you'll have little difficulty finding both in your local grocery store, especially at this time of the year.
So, whether you make your sauerkraut from scratch or buy it and the pork at your local grocery store, dig in to a hearty meal on January 1, 2017 that will certainly fill you up and that just might bring you good luck beyond your wildest dreams.
Celebrate as the clock strikes midnight, signalling the start of 2017, at one of these
spectacular New Year’s parties then start your new year off right with a hearty meal of pork and sauerkraut, a Pennsylvania superstition that just might bring you good luck in 2017.