RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – You probably ate that last set of New Year’s traditions for lunch on Sunday or Monday. But black-eyed peas and greens has been a tradition for so long that there’s traditions growing up around those traditions.

The reason for eating black-eyed peas and some type of greens for New Year’s is fuzzy. They are supposed to represent money, for one thing. The peas, coins. The greens, folding money. If you eat them on New Year’s Day, you’ll have plenty of money in the year ahead. You can cook your own peas from scratch, or just open a can. You can even go out and eat them.

Brenda Herrington says they have been serving up greens and peas on New Year’s Day at Pelahatchie Bay Trading Post in Rankin County for quite a while.

“For 40 years now.”

Eating black-eyed peas and some kind of green on New Year’s Day is supposed to be lucky, too. Google it and you’ll find out all sorts of reasons why.

“As far as the cabbage and black-eyed peas, I do believe in that. I believe they’re really good for you and everything.”

“I’m still above ground.”

Some people don’t care if they’re lucky.

“I don’t eat any kind of beans at all.”

But lucky or not, it’s a tradition. People would rather not break the tradition. It’s a tie to the past and represents some kind of continuity in life.  

“Just passed down from grandparents.”

“But it’s always a Southern Tradition. I don’t see any reason to change now.”

But with The Bay heading into forty or so years serving peas and greens on New Year’s Day, eating the traditional meal here has become its own tradition, now.

“This is New Year’s Day. On New Year’s Day, you find any way to get to the Pelahatchie Bay to get black-eyed peas, cabbage and corn bread.”

“Not only are the peas, corn bread and the greens tradition, but so is coming to Pelahatchie Bay for my family.”

Superstition or tradition, secret recipe or out of the frozen food section, at home or at a traditional place, good luck or just because you like them, we start the year off with a tradition, because there’s probably a lot of untraditional stuff ahead. It’s nice to kick things off standing on familiar ground.