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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Eight New Year's Food Customs from Around the World

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2009 at 9:21 AM

In the United States, the new year is usually ushered in by champagne and as many hangover-inducing beverages as we can get our hands on. In other countries, however, hearty food traditions mark the start of the year. Below, some of our favorites.

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8. The Christ Cake
In Greece, the vasilopeta cake is cut as the clock strikes midnight. The first slice is for Christ, the second is for the house, and the third goes to all the revelers in the room. Oftentimes a coin is hidden in the cake. The person who gets the piece of cake with the coin is said to have a lucky New Year -- provided they don't swallow the coin first and land in the hospital.

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7. Rice Pudding
Norwegians ring in the New Year with a rice pudding that symbolizes the sweet year ahead. As in the Greek traditional, an almond is hidden in the pudding for one ultra-lucky recipient. Things are even more fun if you can pass for a kid -- New Year's Eve is like Halloween in Norway, with the under-18 set receiving candy from the neighbors in exchange for  musical performances.

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6. Fritters and Dumplings
Residents of the Netherlands enjoy champagne at midnight, but also enjoy traditional snack foods like oil dumplings and apple slice fritters. Because there's nothing like some fried food to prime your belly for impending alcoholic doom.

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5. Chocolate con Churros
Spain's food tradition is a bit more sparse. During the countdown to midnight, revelers eat a single grape during each chime of the clock -- 12 grapes in total. The real foodie holiday comes in the morning, when party attendees sit down for a breakfast of chocolate con churros, or hot chocolate and fried dough.

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Ariel Schwartz


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