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20 New Year’s Food and Drink Traditions Around the World

20 New Year’s Food and Drink Traditions Around the World

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There are plenty of ways to say 'Happy New Year!' with food and drink

How we celebrate the new year depends on where in the world we are on the last day of the year.

Before the clock strikes midnight on Jan. 1, people everywhere ring in the new year with celebratory food and drinks alongside family and friends. How we celebrate, though, depends on where in the world we are on the last day of the year because New Year’s traditions differ from country to country. But no matter where it’s celebrated, New Year’s is always welcomed with traditional food and drink.

20 New Year’s Food and Drink Traditions Around the World (Slideshow)

Here in the United States, the beginning of a new year is celebrated with champagne toasts at midnight. In Estonia, it’s traditional to eat seven, nine, or 12 meals on New Year’s Eve, with part of each meal left unfinished for the spirits of ancestors who visit the house that day.

Germans celebrate the new year with jam-filled donuts and a mulled wine drink called feuerzangenbowle. And people in Scotland participate in the tradition of "first footing" on New Year’s Day, bringing gifts of shortbread, a black bun, and whisky to a neighbor’s house.

However you celebrate, there are plenty of ways to say "Happy New Year!" with food and drink. Read on to see New Year’s food and drink traditions around the world, from Argentina to Japan to Wales.

Haley WIllard is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter @haleywillrd.

35+ Cocktails Tailor-Made for Toasting on New Year's Eve

It's almost 2021. Send 2020 off with a stiff, festive drink!

Woo boy, 2020 has been quite the year. If you're eager to see it off, then you've probably been anticipating New Year's Eve as much, if not more, than any other holiday this year. Though we may not be able to have the kind of giant, indoor get-togethers that we had in the past (and will hopefully have in the future) that doesn't mean we can't ring in the new year with some New Year's Eve traditions in tact &mdashand that means a glass of Champagne and a round of Auld Lang Syne at the least.

Of course, you may want to have more than one drink on New Year's Eve (it's been that kind of year), and sticking to champagne the whole evening long may not exactly cut it. So we've put together this list of festive, often bubbly New Year's drinks to help you welcome 2021.

Nothing's more fun and festive than a French 75 cocktail, made with gin, Champagne, and lemons. Cranberry mimosas are also great for both brunch and evening celebrations, and don't even get us started on the Fig Honey Thyme Prosecco Smash recipe&mdashafter one or two, you may not be able to say the whole thing, but you sure will be satisfied. Don't forget to serve these best New Year's Eve cocktails alongside tasty New Year's Eve appetizers or your New Year's Eve dinner menu too&mdashthey never met a cheese board or savory dip they didn't pair perfectly with! And these drinks are also just as good without the Champagne if you have any guests who don't imbibe or little ones attending your bash. Three cheers to that!

20 Unique New Year's Eve Traditions From Around the World

From drinking ashes to smashing pomegranates, this is how other countries usher in the new year.

AG Photo Design/Shutterstock

New Year's Day may start the second the clock strikes midnight on January 1 in most countries, but the celebrations undertaken to usher in the new year at different corners of the globe couldn't be more unique. Take Ecuador, for instance: There, citizens parade around the city with scarecrows built to look like popular politicians and cultural icons—and at the stroke of midnight, said scarecrows are burnt to a crisp to cleanse the new year of everything evil. And in Brazil, it's customary to light candles and throw white flowers into the water as an offering for Yemoja, the Queen of the Ocean. Herein, we've traveled the world—virtually, at least—to round up some of the most creative and culturally unique New Year's Eve traditions from around the world. Keep reading to find out how other countries will be celebrating, and for advice on keeping your promise to yourself, check out The Biggest New Year's Resolution Mistake Everyone Makes.

Martin Novak/Shutterstock

In Spain, locals will eat exactly 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight to honor a tradition that started in the late 19th century. Back in the 1800s, vine growers in the Alicante area came up with this tradition as a means of selling more grapes toward the end of the year, but the sweet celebration quickly caught on. Today, Spaniards enjoy eating one grape for each of the first 12 bell strikes after midnight in the hopes that this will bring about a year of good fortune and prosperity. For more fascinating trivia, check out 50 Most Interesting Facts About the World.

Yongkiet Jitwattanatam/Shutterstock

In Scotland, the day before January 1 is so important that there's even an official name for it: Hogmanay. On this day, the Scottish observe many traditions, but easily one of their most famous is first footing. According to Scottish beliefs, the first person who crosses through the threshold of your house after midnight on New Year's Day should be a dark-haired male if you wish to have good luck in the coming year. Traditionally, these men come bearing gifts of coal, salt, shortbread, and whiskey, all of which further contribute to the idea of having good fortune.

But why dark-haired men? Well, back when Scotland was being invaded by the Vikings, the last thing you wanted to see at your doorstep was a light-haired man bearing a giant axe. So today, the opposite—a dark-haired man—symbolizes opulence and success.

Nancy Beijersbergen/Shutterstock

The reasoning behind this Dutch New Year's Eve tradition is slightly odd, to say the least. Ancient Germanic tribes would eat these pieces of deep-fried dough during the Yule so that when Germanic goddess Perchta, better known as Perchta the Belly Slitter, tried to cut their stomachs open and fill them with trash (a punishment for those who hadn't sufficiently partaken in yuletide cheer), the fat from the dough would cause her sword to slide right off. Today, oliebollen are enjoyed on New Year's Eve, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a Dutch food vendor in the winter months who isn't selling these doughnut-like balls. For more wisdom to share with your friends, check out 125 Facts That Will Make You Feel Instantly Smarter.


For the past 25 years or so, it has been a Russian holiday tradition for two divers, aptly named Father Frost and the Ice Maiden, to venture into a frozen Lake Baikal, the world's largest freshwater lake, and take a New Year Tree—typically a decorated spruce—more than 100 feet below the surface. Though the temperature is normally well below freezing in Russia on New Year's Eve, people travel from all over the world to partake in this frozen fête.

Bruno Amado/Shutterstock

If you happen to be in Brazil for New Year's Eve, don't be surprised to find the oceans littered with white flowers and candles. In the South American country, it is commonplace for citizens to take to the shores on New Year's Eve in order to make offerings to Yemoja, a major water deity who is said to control the seas, to elicit her blessings for the year to come.

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Italians have a tradition of wearing red underwear to ring in the new year. In Italian culture, the color red is associated with fertility, and so people wear it under their clothes in the hopes that it will help them conceive in the coming year.

george green/Shutterstock

No, this New Year's Eve tradition has nothing to do with vampires. Rather, the Greeks believe that onions are a symbol of rebirth, and so they hang the pungent vegetable on their doors in order to promote growth throughout the new year. Greek culture has long associated this food with the idea of development, seeing as all the odorous onion ever seemingly wants is to plant its roots and keep growing. And for customs that made their way to the U.S., check out 20 "American" Traditions We Totally Stole from Other Cultures.

Natalia Ramirez Roman/Shutterstock

In Chile, New Year's Eve masses are held not at church, but in cemeteries. This change of scenery allows for people to sit with their deceased family members and include them in the New Year's Eve festivities.


In Japanese culture, it is customary to welcome the new year with a bowl of soba noodles in a ritual known as toshikoshi soba, or year-crossing noodles. Though nobody is entirely sure where toshikoshi soba first came from, it is believed that the soba's thin shape and long length is meant to signify a long and healthy life. Many folks also believe that because the buckwheat plant used to make soba noodles is so resilient, people eat the pasta on New Year's Eve to signify their strength. If you want to make a bowl of New Year's Eve Noodles for yourself this December 31st, then check out blogger Namiko Chen's recipe here. And for trivia that will make you giggle, check out 40 Facts So Funny They're Hard to Believe.


In Denmark, people take pride in the number of broken dishes outside of their door by the end of New Year's Eve. It's a Danish tradition to throw china at your friends' and neighbors' front doors on New Year's Eve—some say it's a means of leaving any aggression and ill-will behind before the New Year begins—and it is said that the bigger your pile of broken dishes, the more luck you will have in the upcoming year.

In Green/Shutterstock

In Ecuador, New's Year Eve festivities are lit up (quite literally) by bonfires. At the center of each of these bonfires are effigies, most often representing politicians, pop culture icons, and other figures from the year prior. These burnings of the "año viejo," or "old year," as they're called, are held at the end of every year to cleanse the world of all the bad from the past 12 months and make room for the good to come.


In ancient Greek mythology, the pomegranate symbolizes fertility, life, and abundance, and so the fruit has come to be associated with good fortune in modern Greece. Just after midnight on New Year's Eve, it is customary for Greeks to smash a pomegranate against the door of their house—and it is said that the number of pomegranate seeds that end up scattered is directly correlated with the amount of good luck to come.

Simone Andress/Shutterstock

In Germany, all of the New Year's Eve Festivities center around a rather unique activity known as Bleigießen, or lead pouring. Using the flames from a candle, each person melts a small piece of lead or tin and pours it into a container of cold water. The shape that the lead or tin forms is said to reveal a person's fate for the upcoming year, not unlike tasseography.

Maxim Tupikov/Shutterstock

One-hundred-and-eight. That's how many times Buddhist temples in Japan ring their bells on New Year's Eve—107 times on New Year's Eve, and once when the clock strikes midnight. This tradition, known as joyanokane, is meant to both dispel the 108 evil desires in each and every person and cleanse the previous year of past sins.

G-stock studio/Shutterstock

Before you get grossed out, rest assured that Russians are not consuming human ashes or anything of the sort. Rather, in Russian culture, it is New Year's Eve tradition for folks to write their wishes down on a piece of paper, burn them with a candle, and drink the subsequent ashes in a glass of champagne.

marigold-y / Shutterstock

The Czech prefer to predict their future fortunes on New Year's Eve with the assistance of an apple. The night before the new year begins, the fruit is cut in half, and the shape of the apple's core is said to determine the fate of everyone surrounding it. If the apple's core resembles a star, then everyone will soon meet again in happiness and health—but if it looks like a cross, then someone at the New Year's Eve party should expect to fall ill.

G-Stock Studio/Shutterstock

If breakfast, lunch, and dinner are hardly enough to satiate you, then you'll want to celebrate New Year's Eve in Estonia. There, people believe that eating seven, nine, or 12 meals will bring about good things in the year to come, seeing as those numbers are considered lucky throughout the country. And if you can't finish your food, worry not: People often purposefully leave food on their plates in order to feed their visiting family members—the ones in spirit form, that is.

Elena Shi/Shutterstock

When people in Armenia bake bread on New Year's Eve, they add a special ingredient into their dough: luck. Of course, they don't literally add an ingredient called luck into their batter, but it is tradition for metaphorical good wishes to be kneaded into every batch of bread baked on the last day of the year.


In Turkey, it's considered good luck to sprinkle salt on your doorstep as soon as the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Day. Like many other New Year's Eve traditions around the globe, this one is said to promote both peace and prosperity throughout the new year.

Oleksandr Rybitskiy/Shutterstock

In Ireland, it's customary for single gals to sleep with a mistletoe under their pillow on New Year's Eve. Supposedly, sleeping with the plant helps women to find their future husbands—in their dreams, at least.

German New Year's Eve Foods and Traditions

New Year's Eve in Germany is also known as Silvester, named in honor of Pope Silvester who died on December 31, 335 AD. It's celebrated with a mixture of animistic and Germanic rituals and Christian beliefs: loud noises drive ghosts and evil away, other traditions bring luck, predictions for the new year are read in molten lead poured in cold water (Bleigießen), and church bells ring across the country to announce the arrival of a new year. In Germany, most stores close around 2 pm on the 31st of December, and almost all are closed on New Year's Day. On the last day of the year, people make sure they have everything they need to host their parties or holiday dinners.

At midnight, fireworks are lit, noisemakers hum, and people go out into the streets or onto their balconies to watch the show. The ideas below bring you the most representative traditions and the most delicious recipes to try no matter where in the world you want to celebrate your German-inspired New Year.

Traditional New Year’s Clothing

When celebrating the New Year, many cultures take the opportunity to get dressed up in whimsical or dapper fashions. Most of these New Year’s clothing choices are wrought with meaning, and occasionally they’re good for a laugh or two as well.

Philippines: For New Year’s in the Philippines, round is all the rage. People eat round foods, carry coins in their pockets, and wear clothing with nlots of polka dots. The round shape symbolizes money, and is believed to boost your finances for the new year.

Vietnam: The Vietnamese wear brand new clothes to bring in the New Year with a fresh start. These clothes are not the modern Western styles that most people wear in their daily life, but rather a traditional outfit called ao dai, featuring a long gown worn with trousers.

Russia: In a throwback to the Soviet era, most of Russia (except for Russian Orthodox Christians) celebrates something similar to Christmas at New Year’s. Grandfather Frost visits at midnight to leave presents while the kids aren’t looking. Christmas was actually banned in Russia during Soviet times, so New Year’s took its place!

Italy: Like the Vietnamese, Italians wear new clothes to ring in the New Year. As with the Russians, it’s a time for presents, with each gift (things like honey, gold, money, and lamps) symbolizing something specific for the receiver. The gifts are serious business!

Turkey: In Turkey, wearing red underwear at midnight on New Year’s Eve is crucial to bring good luck in the coming year. For that matter, this tradition is also observed in other countries, including Italy, Spain, and Mexico . Red is traditionally a lucky color at this time of year. Who knows how the underwear in particular became important?

Brazil: Taking the idea of lucky New Year’s underpants even further, in Brazil, Ecuador , Bolivia , and Venezuela , the color of underwear helps to determine the wearer’s specific successes for next year. Red brings love, yellow brings money, green brings luck, and so on. Local markets will be festooned with colored underpants leading up to the New Year.

Torchlight Procession Hogmanay. Photo by This is Edinburgh ( via CC 2.0

15 New Year's Good Luck Traditions From Around the World to Borrow for Your Celebration

We could all use a little more luck in 2021. So, no matter how you choose to celebrate New Year's Eve, be it with a lavish New Year's Eve dinner that spans two years, a quiet quarantine New Year's Eve at home, a cozy night watching New Year's movies or a plan for an achievable resolution, see if you can take some time to squeeze in one of these New Year's good-luck traditions as well.

Every culture has its own ways to ring in a lucky new year. In some countries, what you&rsquore wearing when the clock strikes midnight is so important, it&rsquoll affect your luck, wealth, health and love life for the next 12 months, so plan that outfit wisely. In other cultures, it's not what you're wearing, but what you're doing when the clock strikes midnight that's matters &mdash get ready to jump off a chair, break some crockery or hit the waves. And, of course, food traditions are always a favorite. Whether you like beans, pomegranates, fish or grapes, there are ways to incorporate these and other good-luck foods into your December 31. Hopefully, these all mean that there are plenty of good things in store!

It's said that anyone who makes this dish of black-eyed peas, pork and rice on January 1 will experience luck and peace for the rest of the year. And maybe prosperity, too: According to, "Hoppin&rsquo John was, and still is, often eaten with collard greens, which can resemble paper money, and 'golden' cornbread. The peas themselves represent coins. Some families boost the potential of their Hoppin&rsquo John by placing a penny underneath the dishes &mdash or adding extra pork, which is thought to bring more luck."

Don't like pork? Fish is considered another good New Year's entrée, since fish only swim in one direction &mdash forward, like the movement of time. (If you're not a fan of ham or fish, there are plenty of other good-luck New Year's foods, too.)

Brazil makes it easier too choose your New Year's Eve outfit &mdash everyone wears white for good luck and peace. Plus, matching outfits make for good photos!

Also in Brazil, if you head to the beach, you can increase your luck by heading to the water and jumping over seven waves. You get one wish for each wave.

In Denmark, broken dishes are a good thing &mdash people go around breaking dishware on the doorsteps of their friends and family. The more shards there are in front of your home the next day, the luckier and more well liked you are (unless you're the one who has to sweep). But try to keep it on the doorstep: &ldquoI once threw a cup at my friend&rsquos house," a reveler told the University of Copenhagen's University Post. "The cup didn&rsquot break &ndash his window did instead!&rdquo

Yes, exactly 12, one at each stroke of midnight. That's what they do in Spain &mdash pop one grape for every month of the New Year. According to Atlas Obscura: "Eating one grape at each of midnight&rsquos 12 clock chimes guarantees you a lucky year &mdash if and only if you simultaneously ruminate on their significance. (Each grape represents an upcoming month.) If you fail to conscientiously finish your grapes by the time the clock stops chiming, you&rsquoll face misfortune in the new year." Now, that's a lot to chew on!

You've heard of this one before: When the clock strikes midnight, you're supposed to kiss someone you love. It's not just about stealing a smooch: According to the Washington Post, this is borrowed from English and German folklore, which stated that it's "the first person with whom a person came in contact that dictated the year&rsquos destiny." Choose your partner wisely!

Also in Denmark, people stand on their chairs and "leap" into January at midnight to bring good luck and banish bad spirits. Couldn't hurt! (Unless you break the chair.)

In fact, pack nothing at all. In Colombia, people take empty suitcases and run around the block as fast as they can. It's supposed to guarantee a year filled with travel, which will hopefully be possible in 2021. If not, there's nothing wrong with getting some brisk January air. One writer for the Tampa Bay Times tried it with her Colombian husband in her Florida neighborhood: "Upon seeing two silhouettes tearing down the street at midnight with backpacks in their arms, our neighbors who were outside to watch fireworks made a beeline to their front doors. We worried they were calling the police." The writer did, however, travel to Colombia that year.

In upstate New York, they sell special peppermint pigs all throughout the holiday season. Everyone gets to take a turn hitting it with a special candy-size hammer and eating a piece for good fortune in the coming year. The peppermint is very strong, so only take a small piece &mdash but at least you'll start the year with fresh breath!

It's a common superstition that opening the doors and windows will let the old year out, and the new year in unimpeded. (Let's hope this old year goes out as quickly as possible, please.)

Certain countries, especially in Latin America, believe that the color of your underwear can bring good things to you in the next 12 months. Yellow is for luck, red is for love and white undies bring peace.

Look out below! In Puerto Rico, they believe that dumping a bucket of water out the window drives away evil spirits. If that seems a little too unfair to the people who might be passing by, Puerto Ricans also sprinkle sugar outside their houses to invite the good luck in, which is a little sweeter (if you can forgive the pun).

In Germany and Austria, there are a few different lucky symbols that you'd gift to friends and family to bring them good fortune. These include pigs, mushrooms, clovers and chimney sweeps. You can buy little tokens of these lucky charms at a Christmas market &mdash or get edible ones in fun combinations made out of marzipan. Yum!

Or, instead of burning the wishes, you can have everyone write down a resolution, goal, wish or note to their future selves, put it in a jar, then save it for the year. On the next New Year's Eve, you can retrieve the jar and read the notes to see how far everyone has progressed.

New Year's Good Luck Food List

7 new year’s good luck food recipes made with grapes, pomegranate, lentils, black eye peas, rice, and champagne to attract prosperity and more. Noodles are long, and that length is thought to.

Chinese New Year traditions Every item has a symbolic

Some cultures believe that there are some good luck recipes that should be served in hope of having more luck, prosperity and good health for the coming new year.

New year's good luck food list. The theory is that, because they “swell” as you cook them, beans symbolize prosperity and growth. Read on to learn more about these fun traditional new year's day foods. People are also used to serve round fruits, which were believed to bring luck and fortune.

This dip tastes good hot or cold. Do you have any special traditions or superstitions centered around the arrival of the new year or reveillón? In japan, the good luck dish for oshogatsu (new year's) is ozoni, a dashi broth with fish cakes, vegetables and those gooey, chewy rice cakes known as mochi.

Get the recipe for alton brown’s new year’s eve meal which includes collard greens, blacked eyed peas and corn bread dumplings. Here is the list of 12 lucky fruits that can bring good luck, prosperity, and good health in celebrating new year’s eve 2021. This is a great good luck food because it’s delicious and has a great story for why the chinese think it’s a good luck to eat on new year’s eve.

Noodles in japan, soba noodles are served on new year’s. Ring in the new year (2021) with one or all of these food traditions said to bring good luck in the coming year. These new year's good luck foods have been known to cause health, happiness, and wealth for centuries.

We've selected our favorite recipes to go with each good luck food so you can have the. Do you follow traditions such as preparing good luck recipes for new year’s eve? Eating beans on new year’s is considered good luck.

The dumplings are shaped like gold ingots—the currency used in ancient china—so eating them as a new year’s eve food will bring financial luck. Load up on these foods for january 1 in order to look forward to a happy, healthy, and. The auspicious symbolism of these traditional chinese new year foods is based on their pronunciations or appearance.

Around the world, people eat certain foods that symbolize good luck in the coming year. For the last 8 years my mom has created a new year’s day feast filled with good luck foods for the year ahead! Try making your own healthy steamed dumplings.

We could all use some extra luck right? 20 new year's food traditions that'll bring you good luck in 2021 people put their own spin on new year's, but food is the one thing they have in common, and you'll want to try all of these lucky. Those dark green vegetables might be way too healthy for you, but it could help to enjoy a plateful this new year's eve.

A popular lucky new year's day dish in germany is pork and sauerkraut, promising as much luck as the many strands in the cabbage. If you go to the philippines, they believe round items including food bring wealth in the new year. Good luck foods on new year’s day.

Try one of these new year's good luck foods for health, happiness, and prosperity in 2021. A popular lucky new year’s day dish in germany is pork and sauerkraut, promising as much luck as the many strands in the cabbage. A lot of cultures from the united states to europe believe that the green colour of vegetables such as beans or spinach symbolizes money.

In the south, eating beans shows a sign of humility and, therefore, invited good fortune. Add a slice of cornbread, and you've got peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold. 1 of 7. Eat with tortilla chips or corn chips.

Certain dishes are eaten during the chinese new year for their symbolic meaning. For extra luck, cook everything with pork on new year's eve. Eating 12 grapes at midnight on.

All over the world, people eat different foods on new year's day to bring good luck in the coming months. Well, many cultures around the world do, and some are associated with food and numbers. Globally, different foods are considered signs of luck, prosperity, and wealth when eaten on new year's day.

No matter the place in the world, there is bound to be a tradition or two that promotes prosperity. This recipe is easy and great for parties, especially for the new year's. My mom loves history and research, so she took it upon herself to look back and see what foods have traditionally been known as the best foods to eat on new year’s day.

All around the world, 1/1 is a day rife with tradition and symbolic ritual. So why not try to ring in the new year with a feast of these delicious good luck food. Here are list of good luck food for new year 1.

To keep warm, put dip in slow cooker.

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In Greece, an onion is hung on the front door on New Year's Eve to signify rebirth and regrowth.

On Protochronia or New Year's Eve, hanging an onion on your door signifies rebirth and regrowth.

This unusual tradition refers to the squill (sea onion): a poisonous plant that grows in Crete and resembles a large onion. The squill will continue to grow new leaves and flowers even when uprooted. By placing an onion or squill on their front door on New Year's Eve, the people of Crete and Greece believe that some of the plant's resilience and good luck will rub off on them.

The morning after, parents wake their children by smacking them in the head with the onion to make them get up for church service.

I. Overview Of Vietnamese New Year Holiday:

Tet Nguyen Dan is also known as Tet Ca (Big Tet), Tet Ta (Vietnamese New Year), Tet Am Lich (Lunar New Year), Tet Co Truyen (Traditional New Year), or simply known as Tet. It is the most important holiday in Vietnam, according to the cultural influence of the Chinese Lunar New Year and The Eastearn Asian cultural sphere. Before Tet, there are often other days to prepare such as the “Kitchen God Festival” or “Tet Tao Quan” in Vietnamese (23rd December in lunar calendar) and “New Year’s Eve” or “Tat Nien” (December 29 or 30 in lunar calendar)

As the Lunar New Year is determined according to the schedule periodic operation of the Moon so Tet Nguyen Dan of Vietnam is celebrated later than “Tet Duong Lich” (also known euphemistically as Western New Year). Due to the rule that there is additional one month of the lunar calendar every 3 years, the first day of the Lunar New Year in never before January 21 and never after February 19 in solar calendar. It usually falls in late January to the middle of February. The entire annual Lunar New Year lasts for about 7 to 8 days of the old year and 7 days of the new year (23 December to the end of January 7).

Every year, Tet is held on the first day of January according to the lunar calendar in Vietnam and some other countries where Vietnamese people are living. In New Year days, the families’ members gather together, visit relatives, friends, exchange lucky money and worship ancestors. On Tet, the preparation for New Year traditional dishes is extremely important. The Vietnamese New Year food article is aimed to introduce readers, especially tourists and visitors who love Vietnam’s culture and food, who want to visit Vietnam, or who are on the travel to Vietnam, some specific traditional dishes served on Tet according to the culture of 3 separate regions in Vietnam.

II. Some Traditional Vietnamese New Year Food In The North:

A Vietnamese idiom said: “Hungry on the father’s death anniversary, full on three New Year days”. On Tet, no matter how poor people are, they always try to ensure the well-fedness on three Tet days for their family in order to give “soup for the children, new clothing for the olds”, besides the two traditional cakes – Banh Chung and Banh Day. Northern New Year dishes are varied. In particular, we cannot forget mentioning dishes like pickled onions, frozen meat, beef braised with cinnamon…

Here is the Vietnamese New Year food served on Tet in Northern Vietnam!

1. Banh Chung – Sticky Rice Cake (Or Chung Cake):

The first and also the best traditional Vietnamese New Year food I want to introduce in this article is sticky rice cake or Chung Cake. Chung Cake is the spirit of the Vietnamese New Year days, expressing the essence of the heaven and the earth through the skillful hands of humans. On Tet, it is indispensable that the ancestor altar in the North has a pair of green Chung Cake. Nowadays, due to the social development, it is hard to find out a family who packs and boils Chung Cake by themselves, but people who buy Chung Cake for Tet will definitely choose the cakes made from the best ingredients. It should be made from the most fragrant glutinous rice for better “longevity”. The stuffing of Chung Cake usually contains pork, masticated green bean, dried onion, and pepper. The cakes need to be wrapped tightly and carefully, boiled for about 14 hours, taken out, soaked in water and squeezed using a heavy plank. Therefore, when Chung Cake is cut, it will be limber but not flabby, just fleshy and fragrant.

2. Dua Hanh – Pickled Onions:

Pickled onions are often used as a side dish coming along with Chung Cake or fatty dishes (frozen meat, Chinese braised meat, boiled meat) for reducing the greasiness. The sweetness, sourness, slight spiciness of pickled onions will help to improve the flavor of the dishes as well as to help the body digest food easier.

First of all, you need to look for old onions with firm bulbs, only use the bulbs. Then, soak the onions in water mixed with borax and ash in 2 days and 2 nights. Next, take out the onions, cut off the roots, peel them (keep just about 5cm), then put them into a large jar, and cover them with salt, putting a thin layer of chopped cane above, then seal them with the layers of bamboo grates. After 2 weeks, you can get the onion bulbs out, soak them in sugar and vinegar, leaving them 3 days for being edible.

Here’s My #1 NYE Parenting Hack

Usher in the New Year in a couple of different timezones. No, I don’t mean jet-set in your private plane to multiple destinations (although I wish). I mean let your kids think that the ball has dropped at 9 PM. Do the whole shebang with the countdown and confetti poppers, then put your little angels to bed! I call this “mock midnight”.

This works extremely well if you are located on the West Coast because you can actually watch the ball drop when it is midnight on the East Coast. BUT Netflix also has countdowns available to watch on-demand.

Once they are tucked in, the parents can have a little alone time. Drink a fun NYE-inspired cocktail, catch up on a TV show, and usher in the New Year with a little romance.