The new year signals a time for new beginnings, new resolutions, and even new foods. From Asia to Europe to Latin America, each culture has a long history of lucky foods believed to bring you prosperity, luck, and joy. Although we can't ensure that eating the following foods will make you the next lottery winner, why not give it a go? Here are seven foods that are universally seen as lucky and tasty.

1. Long Noodles


In both Chinese and Japanese cultures, eating long noodles signifies enjoying a long life. But don't be fooled, these aren't your average noodle sizes — in fact, these noodles should be significantly longer. From Yi Mein in Chinese cuisine to Japanese soba, there are plenty of ways to prepare and serve long noodles. Just make sure to slurp your noodles so that they don't break!

2. Fish


Fish is such a versatile staple—it can be boiled, steamed, baked, braised, and even fried. Its luck is most apparent in Chinese culture. The Chinese character for fish (魚) sounds very similar to the Chinese character for surplus (余). When the character for fish is replaced in a common Chinese saying 年年有余, which translates to having a surplus every year, the final translation, 年年有魚, means having fish every year. 

Along with the clever homophonic saying, the benefits of fish have been confirmed by numerous research studies over the years. A recent study by The British Medical Journal (BMJ) claims that fish can keep people healthy at an old age. Other studies exhibit the positive effects of fish on a person's eyesight, heart, and brain. Even to this day, my grandmother doesn't hesitate to tell me, "Eating fish will make you smart!"

3. Tangerines, Satsumas, and Mandarins


These plump, sweet fruits resemble gold in Chinese culture and promise wealth to those who consume this food often. Often times, families will exchange these citrus fruits with relatives as an act of respect. Some families might even purchase potted citrus plants to conveniently have around the house.

Additionally, oranges show many health benefits including Vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. One large orange can have around 100% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin C!

4. Greens


Similar to citrus fruits, leafy greens bear resemblance to another sought-after currency, money. Eating a lot of greens may help your search for more wealth in the New Year. Leafy and tender greens also provide some of the best health benefits including reduced risk for obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure. 

5. Pork


Known as more fatty meat, pork has come to symbolize prosperity and progress for many Americans. During brutal winters in the 19th and 20th centuries, a family could survive by feasting on one pig. In the South, people celebrate this tradition by cooking up batches of hog jowl, the cheek of a pig that can be cured for very long periods of time. Pigs also "root forward," a term that describes digging up holes for food. Pigs also cannot look back without turning around. Thus, eating pork symbolizes a willingness to move forward in life and search for progress.

6. Grapes


In Spain at the strike of the New Year, people celebrate by eating one grape each time the clock tolls. In total, that's 12 lucky grapes as the clock strikes midnight! This tradition stems from the early 1800s when wealthy Spanish families would feast on grapes and champagne at midnight and irk their neighbors with their unruliness. To taunt this snobby tradition, Spanish people from the working class (madrileños) started chomping grapes and sipping champagne on New Year's. They first gathered in Puerta del Sol, where the tradition still continues to this day.

7. Pomegranate


In Greece, the abundance of pomegranate seeds symbolizes fertility and prosperity. By cracking open a pomegranate by the door and letting the seeds scatter on the floor, people can show their wishes for luck in the New Year. Pomegranates are also elevated symbols in Greek Mythology, especially as a token for female goddesses Hera, Venus, and Persephone. In China, pomegranates play a role in feng shui or a person's harmony with life. By opening up pomegranates, young families can wish for more healthy children and a prosperous future. Not only are pomegranates emblems of good luck, but the seeds are also rich in vitamins and antioxidants. So, what are you waiting for? Claim a lucky pomegranate from the local grocer today!