New Year’s Eve traditions in Africa and the diaspora

Nduta Waweru December 31, 2018
New Year's Eve traditions in Africa and the diaspora


In many African-American communities, New Year’s Eve is not complete without serving and eating black-eyed peas.  The history of these peas dates back to the Civil War and has been attributed to a symbol of emancipation for African-Americans who had previously been enslaved, and who after the Civil War were officially freed on New Years Day.  In other stories, the peas are said to have been found by Confederate soldiers after it was left behind by Union Soldiers who thought it was animal feed. Another version links black-eyed peas to Jews in Southern states.

Regardless of the origin, black eyed peas are considered a good luck charm for the New Year. It is prepared in different ways, and can be mixed with various foods such as collard greens and chick peas. 

Last Edited by:Nduta Waweru Updated: December 31, 2018


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