Chickens move backwards as they scratch the ground to get their food. Cows stand still. But pigs move forward as they root around to get a meal. So the legend goes that if you eat pork on New Year's Day, you'll move forward in the New Year.

Worldwide, the pig is a symbol of progress. The ancient Celtics considered pork to be the food of the Gods. Swedes, Austrians, Germans, Spaniards, and Hungarians start their new year off with pork. In the United States, the Pennsylvania Dutch have been serving pork on the first day of the new year for centuries.

In the hope of prosperity, some Americans combine vegetables with pork, like sauerkraut or collard greens, because those veggies can be green and leafy, like money. New Englanders team pork with sauerkraut to guarantee luck and prosperity. In some southern states, cooks will pair pork and collard greens on the first day of a new year for good luck. They'll also serve up black eyed peas with their ham. The black eyed pea is considered another New Years staple, because the legume is shaped like a coin and eating them means you may be in for some money.

When you shop for your New Years meal or for any day of the year for that matter, please look for the AWA label. By choosing a pastured pork product bearing the AWA label, you'll be encouraging humane growing practices, and supporting family farms that raise their animals in an environmentally responsible way.

To find Animal Welfare Approved pastured pork products, visit the AWA Products Online Directory.

Source: Animal Welfare Approved (AWA)