Black Eyed Peas New Year’s Tradition in the South

People do things over and over again and if we do them long enough, we call them traditions and set about trying to explain why we keep doing them. Here in the southeastern US, it is a tradition to eat black eyed peas on new year’s day. It is said to bring good luck to all those who partake of this tradition.

Well, I don’t know about that, but it has been the habit of my family to eat black eyed peas on January 1st for as long as I can remember. I grew up on a farm and we grew black eyed peas, so we ate them on many other dates as well.

The tradition in the southeastern US is said to date back to the Civil War. I’ve just done a little research and found that it dates back much further. The cultural upheaval that took place during the Civil War just brought about the blending of traditions.

Black eyed peas are among several foods thought to bring good luck when eaten at the beginning of the new year according to the Babylonian Talmud. The custom was a part of Jewish oral law which was written down somewhere around the year 500. So folks have been eating black eyed peas to bring good luck in the new year for over 1500 years!

My wife doesn’t like black eyed peas, so I’ll be preparing them for our consumption today. I just think we should carry on the tradition. I hope you’ll enjoy some black eyed peas today too and that the new year brings you good fortune.

About Max Shores 88 Articles
I'm a media producer at the University of Alabama. This is where I play with stuff in my spare time. You can find out about my work at

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