Traditional New Year’s Day Dishes

Some say the key to a prosperous and happy new year is food. In our below selection, you’ll find ingredients and meals that can’t be missing from the festive table in Hungary.

There are numerous meals which are believed to bring luck, and honestly, even if they do not work the way we would expect, it is worth taking a leap of faith. You can easily incorporate them into your New Year’s Eve menu.


At the stroke of midnight, Hungarians (as many other nations) eat lentils to get rich. But other than expanding fortunes, lentils symbolize the circle of life too. They have many health benefits: lentils help to reduce blood cholesterol, they are a great source of folate and magnesium (good for the heart), they help prevent digestive disorders, and stabilize blood sugar too. Also, lentils are high in protein, and they are a good source of iron.


In Hungary, roast suckling pig is a popular dish associated with money (no wonder where the idea of a piggybank comes from), but it is believed to symbolize fertility too. An extra fun fact: it is served with a 4 leaf clover in its mouth, because we really want to make sure that a full year of prosperity and happiness is ahead of us.


In many households, fish is a must on New Year’s Day. It symbolizes good luck, abundance, and wealth. People say that as fish swim together in groups, it signifies a large amount of money. Did you know that in most cases a great deal of a fish’s net weight is in its head? What is more, that part is really flavourful. So instead of making fillets, the best way is to have a whole fish.


Once considered an easy and satisfying meal made by the poor, people traditionally eat a layered pastry called strudel on New Year’s Day. According to superstitious belief, the length of strudel dough is related to the length of life. Also, the richer the filling is, the more likely our following year will bring happiness to our lives.

Sparkling wine

Ring in the New Year with some bubbly, pop a bottle of your favourite sparkling wine! The shimmering bubbles, of which there are millions in each bottle, symbolize wealth and luck, let alone the golden colour of this celebratory drink.

Unlucky Foods

There are superstitions about unlucky foods which we shouldn’t forget about either. Poultry is always a bad choice, because A) it has wings and flies away with your luck, and B) chicken scratch backwards which can imply dwelling in the past. Keep lobsters off the menu too, as they swim backwards, and you definitely want to avoid any setbacks in the coming year.