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via BlackDoctor:

Do you know why Black people believe it’s good luck to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day? As with most traditions, there’s a rich origin to the practice.

Most Southerners will tell you that the act dates back to the Civil War. Black-eyed peas were considered food for cattle (like purple hull peas). The peas were not even worthy of Union soldiers. According to tripsavvy.com, when Union soldiers raided the Confederates food supplies, legend says they took everything except the peas and salted pork. The Confederates considered themselves lucky to be left with those meager supplies, and survived the winter. Peas became symbolic of luck.

Black-eyed peas were also given to slaves, as were most other traditional New Year’s foods. One explanation of the superstition says that black-eyed peas were all Southern slaves had to celebrate with on the first day of January 1863 aka, the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation.

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