I've talked about Japanese New Year traditions at length in the past. This time, let's talk about some end-of-year food traditions around the world.
(1) Eat something shaped like a ring. A doughnut, or slices of Japanese chikuwa would do nicely. Or how about some of those small ring pretzels, or Lifesaver candies?
(2) Ever hear of a "bannock"? It's a fried "pancake" of quick bread pastry that the Irish eat on New Year's Eve. Pancakes for a midnight snack? I can do that.
(3) Have you heard of the tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight? That's a Spanish tradition. I think the grapes stand for the 12 Apostles. Hmmm, I wonder if raisins count too?
(4) They eat a lot of rice in the East. It's their substitute for potatoes, which come from the West. But rice has cultural significance. For example, in India and Pakistan, it's eaten on the Eve to promise prosperity.
(5) A very crunchy sweet Jewish tradition is the snacking on apples dipped in honey during Rose Hashana.
(6) This one might get messy and attract ants, cockroaches and other vermin (nit to mention slipping accidents). In Switzerland, they drop dollops of whipped cream on their floors and leave them there. It symbolizes the year-to-come's richness.
(7) Down south in the good ol' US of A, the way to guarantee good fortune in the year ahead is to shovel some black-eyed peas and pork down your gullet.