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The Symbolic Tradition Of Eating Pork On New Year's
By Aimee Lamoureux
In some parts of the United States, it is a common tradition to eat pork and sauerkraut on New Year's Day. This tasty combination of salty meat and fermented cabbage is a symbolic tradition that dates back to Germany hundreds of years ago.
Peasants in rural Germany and other parts of Eastern Europe raised and slaughtered pigs in the fall so the meat could be stored during the cold months. German settlers moved to America in the 17th and 18th centuries and this tradition came with them, which is why states with high populations of German heritage, such as Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, maintain this ritual.
Pork and other fatty foods symbolized good luck in the coming year so it was often reserved for New Year’s celebrations. Sauerkraut is harvested in the autumn, making it an ideal vegetable to pickle, ferment, and preserve in time for New Year's Day.