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Why We Eat Black-Eyed Peas For New Years

If you grew up in a black household, especially in the South, you’ve been told you had to eat black-eyed peas for New Years…or else. Many of us have been told that this is a tradition for good luck, and while that is true, there is more to the tradition that you know.


Black-eyed peas were domesticated in Africa more than 5,000 years ago before it was brought to America through slave ships. Throughout slavery, the crop was always a key aspect of the diet of our ancestors because of it’s nutrients and simplicity to harvest. Even after the Civil War, when all of our crops were destroyed there was one that remained…our “lucky” black-eyed peas!

Creation of Tradition

On New Year’s Day of 1863, when the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, our ancestors celebrated by having a serving of the very thing that had sustained them…black-eyed peas! The crop that may seem common to others has always been the “good luck charm” of black people and will continue to be. So grab a bowl and eat up! Happy New Years!

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