Black-eyed Peas for New Year’s


“I always make my kids a spoonful of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. It’s something that my mother had me do as well when I was growing up.”

When asked why during the New Year, CR responded:

“They bring you good luck into the new year. I have them other times during the year, but as far as I know, they’re only lucky if you have the first day of the year.”

When asked what effect having a spoonful of black-eyed peas have:

“I don’t what specifically, just that it wards off bad luck in the new year. So I get nervous when my kids complain about not wanting their black eyed peas because I don’t want them to be unlucky. I’ve tweaked the recipe to have bacon so my son will actually eat it.”


CR is a sixty year old acting teacher. Originally from Virginia, she moved to LA when she was eighteen and has lived in various areas of the San Fernando Valley. This is the response she gave when asked if she has any favorite holiday traditions.


CR’s insistence on serving black-eyed peas specifically on New Year’s Day demonstrates the temporal significance attached to this ritual. The new year represents a liminal period, marked by transition from old to new, and individuals seek to ensure a favorable start to the coming year. The emphasis on consuming black-eyed peas as the first meal reflects the power of auspicious beginnings and the importance of setting a positive tone for the months ahead. The tradition is a blend of superstitition and culinary customs, where the consumptionof black-eyed peas brings good luck, likely due to its historical associations with prosperity and abundance. Moreover, CR’s adaptation of the recipe to include bacon illustrates the dynamic nature of folk traditions and how they can be adapted to personal preferences and contemporary tastes. Her anxiety for her children’s luck going into the new year is palpable and her effort to adapt the recipe for their tastes demonstrates its importance to her.