Ritual – German


In order to usher in the New Year the subject’s family eats a meal comprised of sauerkraut, sausage, black-eyed peas at midnight on New Year’s Eve. The meal is supposed to bring good luck throughout the year. The subject identified the traditional meal as uniquely German and that the tradition has been kept up through many generations.

For the subject the meal has become less and less important to her and more of something she feels she has to do in order to not upset her grandmother. However she enjoys the fact that the meal symbolically brings her family together like other occasions (i.e. Christmas, Easter, etc). When asked if she would continue this tradition with her own family she said that it would first be up to her husband and secondly it the continuation of the traditional meal would hinge on if she ever learned how to properly prepare the sauerkraut that is required for the meal.

Black-eyed peas as part of a traditional/ritual meal can also be seen in the Italian culture. The appearance of sauerkraut in the meal, however, makes the meal uniquely German.