Superstition comes in different form, time and occasion. People traditionally are most superstitious during New Year’s Day celebration, especially with the food they eat.
Normally, chickens and other birds are parts of the menu during gatherings and special occasions. But during New Year’s Day they are not.
They are actually on the top of the list of foods to avoid during the first day of the year.
The common reason for this is because chickens crawl backwards, which could cause regret or dwelling on the past. For Filipinos, they avoid chickens for New Year’s Day meal because these birds scratch and peck when trying to find food in the backyard and those characteristics are associated with the poor.
There’s an immortal song line in the Philippines that says “isang kahig isang tuka ganyan kaming mga dukha.” In English, that line is roughly translated as “from hand to mouth like us poor.” It illustrates the poor’s daily struggle to find something to eat.
Another reason why people try to avoid eating any winged fowl during the first day of the year is because they don’t want good luck to fly away.
Lobster is another delicious food that we don’t want to eat as we celebrate New Year’s Day. They move backwards, which could lead to setbacks.
Anyway, there are many foods to choose from to get lucky for the coming year. In Spain, they eat 12 grapes, one grape for each stroke of the clock. In most countries, they eat any cooked greens like cabbage, collards, kale and chard because their green leaves look like folded money and are thus symbolic of economic fortune. Pork is another customary food on table during New Year’s Day based on the idea that pigs symbolize progress. Fish is also popular at this time. Germans actually place a few fish scales in their wallet for good luck. In Japan, herring roe is consumed for fertility, shrimp for long life and dried sardines for good harvest.