Herring at New Year’s Eve

One eats herring on New Year’s Eve for good luck

When my informant was younger he can remember celebrating New Year’s Eve with his family. For most of the night the kids would be separate playing games while the adults played cards and talked. When the count down to the new year started the whole family would gather up and right at zero one of the adults would hand out a piece of herring on a toothpick and everyone would eat it. While this was happening everyone would wish each other a happy new year.  This was supposed to ensure good luck for the new year.

My informant no longer partakes in this new year’s eve ritual, but he remembers it being important in the past. My informant has polish ancestry and this is where the ritual came from. He told me that he has heard of other polish families doing this ritual, but not from others. When asked my informant could not remember the particular reason for choosing herring as the food though. The tradition may have come from a desire to start the year off right and people associated herring with being a food item that would go along with that sentiment.