Being from the South, New Year's Day celebrations include making this meal for dinner. And by dinner, I mean lunch. If I say supper, I mean dinner. Yep, that's the way it goes here in Texas. I did a little research to find out what each item represents. It seems that it all started during the Civil War:
During the Civil War (which is when most of these traditions were started) it was lucky to have enough staples this time of year. One theory is that Northern soldiers weren't familiar with the dried peas or with the collards growing in the fields. They may not have recognized these as food sources. Therefore, the soldiers didn't confiscate these items. That meant that Southerners who had these left to eat were "lucky".
Today, for my family, it means a hearty, extremely tasty meal. Fried pork fat, two vegetables seasoned with bacon, and a pan of hot cornbread can't be topped. Try it!