Peace be with you, my friends! I have long been interested in the role food plays in magic ritual service. In many religions as varied as Voodoo, Santeria, Hinduism and many Native-American traditions, it is common to make food offerings to the spirits and one's own ancestors. These are often simple bland foods such as boil beans, white rice, corn meal mush, things that most people would not find appealing to eat, but there are also foods that are intended to be eaten by people and shared among family and friends to bring good luck, fortune and blessings. Not surprisingly, many of these foods are meant to be eaten around New Year's to bring luck in the upcoming year. I would like to share the history behind two of these dishes with you.
It is no coincidence that many of the Voodoo practitioners and witches I know are also amazing cooks!
Here is the first of the foods that bring luck in the new year, it is called Soupe Joumou in Creole or Soupe au Giramoun in French and it is an annual tradition in Haiti. The soup itself is made from a fragrant Caribbean pumpkin simmered with meat and vegetables. The pumpkin is removed from the soup, pureed and returned to the cooking pot and enriched with milk, butter and a blend of spices. In colonial times, this soup was a favorite of the French plantation owners but was strictly forbidden to the slaves who were forced to live on skimpy rations of salted meat and lemon water. When the French masters were overthrown in the first successful revolution in the Americas, the previously enslaved people prepared massive quantities of this soup to commemorate their victory. The triumph of the Haitian revolution happened to coincide with New Year’s Day, so now it is a tradition in Haitian communities around the world to ring in the New Year with a bowl of Soup Joumou, which according to popular folklore will bring good luck throughout the New Year.
The next dish that allegedly brings luck is called Hopping John and it comes from the American south. This is a sort of bean salad made with black eyed peas, rice, onions, parley and bacon or fat back. It can be eaten hot of cold. It is unclear whether this dish has its origin in African or European culinary history, but today it is enjoyed by people of many different backgrounds all throughout the South. Tradition states that the beans bring good luck, happiness and romance in the New Year. A coin is sometimes dropped into the cooking pot and the person who receives it in his dish is said to be especially blessed with good fortune in the upcoming year. The name of this dish comes from a popular story that as it was being prepared, the young children of the house hold would jump up and down with excitement waiting to be served, hence the name “Hopping John.”
I believe that food and magic are mystically intertwined. It is no coincidence that many of the Voodoo practitioners and witches I know are also amazing cooks! There are many more magical traditions related to food associated with various holidays which I plan to share with you throughout the year. If you know of any special food related traditions I would love to hear them and if you are interested in a reading or any of my services, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and I wish you abundant blessings in this holiday season and throughout the New Year.