Do you know why black-eyed peas are lucky on New Year’s Day? As with most superstitions, there are several answers to the question. Typically, the belief that black-eyed peas are a lucky New Year’s meal is especially popular in the south, so it has to do with our history, right? Maybe.
Most Southerners will tell you that it dates back to the Civil War. Black-eyed peas were considered animal food (like purple hull peas).
The peas were not worthy of General Sherman’s Union troops. When Union soldiers raided the Confederates food supplies, legend says they took everything except the peas and salted pork. The Confederates considered themselves lucky to be left with those meager supplies, and survived the winter. Peas became symbolic of luck.
Black-eyed peas were also given to slaves, as were most other traditional New Year’s foods. Let’s face it: a lot of the stuff we eat on New Year’s is soul food. One explanation of the superstition says that black-eyed peas were all the southern slaves had to celebrate with on the first day of January, 1863. What were they celebrating? That was the day when the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. From then on,
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(The opinions in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Southern Nation News or SN.O.)