Give me a black eye . . . pea that is.

So, it’s New Years Day. 2009 is here and 2008 is now the past. Hopefully you have had your greens for money and your black eye peas for luck. Not sure if this really works or not, but eating black eye peas for New Years is a tradition as old as Egyptian times.

bepeas2Interestingly, the belief that black-eyed peas are a symbol of good luck in the New Year originates in the Babylonian Talmud from the early centuries AD.  A Talmud is a compilation of rabbinical discussions outlining Jewish law.  There is evidence that Jewish immigrants to the American south were another source of proliferation of the black-eyed pea.

Also, let’s not forget the Union soilders. It was not uncommon for Union soldiers, after conquering an area of land, to destroy or steal the crops.  The Yanks however, considered common beans, peas and corn inferior products, suitable only for animal fodder.  Subsequently, these items were often sparred .  This oversight, in addition to helping sustain the southern population, allowed for the continued popularity of black-eyed peas. Many believed it “lucky” that these field peas or black eye peas were left behind, seeing it was about the only thing.

So make sure you eat your black eye peas for luck this year. If you don’t believe in that eat them anyway, if for no other reason because they sure are yummy.

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One response to “Give me a black eye . . . pea that is.

  1. Pingback: A Typical Southern New Year’s Meal « Sharing the Journey

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