Elle Jauffret

Writer & Fork Handler

New Year Tradition

Lentils to Welcome the New Year

Did you know that the world’s celebration of the New Year is a somewhat recent phenomenon, which couldn’t have been possible without the acceptance of the Gregorian Calendar?

Before the 17th century, many countries had their own calendars, establishing different year beginnings. It wasn’t until the British Empire adopted the reformed calendar in 1752 that the British and their colonies started to celebrate the New Year on January 1st (instead of in March).

Eating lentils is one of my family traditions to welcome the new year. According to the superstition, enjoying these pulses (small dry seeds) would guarantee health and wealth in the upcoming year. The beliefs behind the tradition vary:


they symbolize money. In ancient history, grains were used in trade and as currency. In ancient Babylonia, the shekel was a unit of weight or currency—worth about 180 grains of barley or 7.2 grams of silver.

- they represent the never-ending life cycle (from birth to death) and allow us to mourn the past year and celebrate the new one. (A little bit like when a King dies and people shout “The King is dead! Long live the (new) King!”

they are a delicious luxury dish worth exchanging your birthright for. In Genesis, Esau sells his rights to the family name, title, and a large portion of the family’s inheritance to his younger brother Jacob for a bowl of lentil stew.

One thing is certain: they may be an acquired taste for some, but lentils are wonderfully nutritious due to their high level of protein, iron, and fiber. Plus, they are as versatile as pasta and you can accompany them with almost any meat, fish, eggs, or vegetables, and can be eaten hot or cold.


Cheers and Happy New Year!





PS: Make-over courtesy of Snapchat's star filter : )



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