New Year’s Traditions are Fishy

“Another one is that we can’t eat fish on New Year’s Eve because it will make all your money swim away that year,” my Hungarian wife said.

I had to stop her right there.  You see, we were talking about foods that are good (and bad) luck to eat on the last day of the year, and this one was a bit of a snag.

My grandmother forced my dad to eat pickled herring at midnight on December 31st, and he passed this tradition on to me.  I may kind of hate the taste of it, but I have had pretty good luck throughout my life.  Should I risk that?

After some pondering, we decided that I should eat the fish and she shouldn’t.  Fortunately, Holland is full of herring, so it was an easy purchase at the grocery store.  The only real catch is that I still don’t like them.  I made do, however, and I ate it with crackers.

The good news is that pork is a big Hungarian New Year’s Eve tradition, and the younger generations have translated that to hot dogs at their house parties.  In other words, I was able to wash the fish taste out of my mouth with a food that I love.

Hungarian Word of the Day:


This word is pronounced similar to “Hall,” and it is the word for fish.  Hot dog is virsli, and those are much more enjoyable than smoked or pickled herring.