MadameNoire Featured Video

A TikToker spotlighted the audacity of white people embracing a predominantly Black American New Year’s Day cooking tradition African Americans have been doing for decades. 

Black folks know that when a new year rolls around, it calls for a big pot of collard greens, black-eyed peas and cornbread — critical components in the Black spiritual belief that these foods welcome financial prosperity and good fortune. Yet, white southerners have increasingly adopted the practice despite them rejecting the custom years ago.

“Why white people using Black folks’ New Year traditions?” TikToker Christina Brown inquired. “Like that’s going to work for you. It’s not going to work for you. Who’s going to tell them it’s not going to work for them?”

“Y’all eating black-eyed peas, collard greens and cornbread for ‘good luck and good fortune,’ right? As if y’all weren’t the reason our ancestors needed the good luck and good fortune hundreds of years ago,” Christina persisted, explaining her perplexity around the “logic” used to think it was acceptable.

“These were spiritual practices to protect us from you. YOU! Who’s ancestors are going to help you with that?”

“I’m just asking questions. Our ancestors had to do this in resistance to your ancestors. And you’re going to use what our ancestors did in resistance to your bloodline,” she said. “I don’t understand it. But I don’t understand a lot of things y’all do.”

Christina mentioned a New Year’s tradition where people eat 12 grapes underneath a table, which must be done by 12 to ensure no evil spirits or negative energy in the new year. She also noted how enslaved people had to hide food they were deprived of.

“You’re just getting gas for shits and giggles. Literally going to the New Year with colonizer energy is crazy. I would not personally want that on my spirit, but that’s some crazy spiritual energy to start a new year off with,” Christina commented. “Well, now that I think about it, you are kind of following your ancestors’ footsteps.”

Eating collard greens, black-eyed peas and cornbread on New Year’s Day is particularly associated with Black Americans but didn’t originate in America.

Superstitious traditions were common globally. Varied cultures had their own practices for the first day of the year. Like Italians believed lentils provided luck because they resembled coins.

According to a 2021 New York Times article, the known Black American tradition can be traced back to West African and European practices.

Collard greens originated in Greece and saw America when the first Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, in the early 1600s. Black-eyed peas are native to Northern Africa.

West Africans engaged in spiritual practices that appealed to deities through their favorite foods, like black-eyed peas. As enslaved Africans migrated and interacted with European colonizers, they married their customs. The Northern European greens resembled folded bills to Blacks and became a part of the known traditions.

While Europeans and Africans engaged in these customs, white Americans rejected European and African customs to take on a wholly American identity. 

Legend has it that they’re still looking for it.

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN