New Year's Traditions

The coming of the New Year is celebrated all over the world. Although the celebrations are not always held on the same day, they often include traditions of religious celebrations, costume parties, parades and with customs said to bring good luck and fortune in the New Year. One New Year tradition is the making of New Year's resolutions. That tradition dates back to the early Babylonians, whose most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment. Popular modern resolutions include promises to lose weight or quit smoking. Consider these tips to help in your resolution making:
• Keep it simple.
• Be realistic.
• Have a game plan.

Traditional New Year foods are thought to bring luck. Many cultures believe that anything in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes "coming full circle", completing a year's cycle. For that reason, the Dutch believe that eating donuts on New Year's Day will bring good fortune. Many parts of the U.S. celebrate the New Year by consuming black-eyed peas. These legumes are typically accompanied by ham hocks. Black-eyed peas and other legumes have been considered good luck in many cultures. The hog, and thus its meat, is considered lucky because it symbolizes prosperity. Cabbage is another "good luck" vegetable that is consumed on New Year's Day by many. Cabbage leaves are also considered a sign of prosperity, being representative of paper currency. In some regions, rice is a lucky food that is eaten on New Year's Day.

Below is an easy and tasty crockpot black-eyed pea dish for New Year's Day or any everyday family dinner.

Black-Eyed Peas with Ham

• 1 pound frozen black eyed peas
• 1 cup chicken broth
• 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 bunch (6 to 8) green onions, thinly sliced
• 6 ounces diced ham
• 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
Serves 6.

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