Background Music: "Gone To The Country" by Racines.
When did 'good luck' join forces with 'black- eyed peas' to become an American New Year's tradition?
I did a little searching online and I found out that the custom pretty much began in Georgia around the 1730s by the first Sephardi Jews who arrived there and continue to live in the same region to this day.
The Jewish practice was apparently adopted by non-Jews around the time of the American Civil War. Boy did that tradition spread like wildfire – especially in the Southern United States.
Although the black-eyed peas recipes on our site are non-kosher (we like to add stuff like ham, salt pork, smoked bacon... the list goes on) I am sure if you look around you might be able to find a few of the original ones [recipes] which are kosher and give it try. Let me know if you like it, okay?
The "good luck" traditions of eating black-eyed peas at Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, are recorded in the Babylonian Talmud (compiled ~500 CE) [source: Wikipedia]
As you can see, the lowly little ol' black-eyed pea is not so lowly after all. It has been around for a long long time. Other variations of the bean (and ways of cooking them) have been a large part of many new year celebrations the world over.
I hope this little tidbit of information will make you a little smarter when someone asks you, “I wonder how black-eyed peas became associated with good luck as an American New Year's tradition?" Now you have answer... don't you?
Have a Happy and Blessed New Year! Ahheee!!
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