History: Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s has been considered good luck for at least 1,500 years. It has been reported that it was historically a Jewish custom to eat black-eyed peas in celebration of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and this tradition arrived in America with Jews, who first arrived in Georgia in the 1730s. According to common folklore, the tradition continued and spread after the Civil War.
Symbolism: There are various explanations for the symbolism of black-eyed peas. One is that these yummy legumes demonstrates humility and a lack of vanity. Another explanation is that dried beans loosely resemble coins. Yet another is that because dried beans greatly expand in volume, they symbolize expanding wealth. A lot of people closely associate good luck with monetary gain. That’s where the greens come in (green is the color of U.S. paper currency). Add some golden cornbread and a well-known Southern phrase to top it off: “Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.”
Nutrition Nugget: 1 cup of black-eyed peas = Dietary fiber 11 g, 0 mg Cholesterol, 7 mg Sodium, 475 mg Potassium, iron & magnesium
1 cup of collard greens = 0 mg Cholesterol, 6 mg Sodium, 77mg Potassium, vitamin A and C
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