i've been searching "new yr's traditions" for a bit this afternoon and the one that keeps popping up is the eating of black eyed pea's on new year's day to bring good fortune in the new year.
click on the following link for the best article and recipes i came upon during my search: http://www.austin360.com/food_drink/content/food_drink/dining_at_home/stories/2006/12/31blackeyedpeas.html
from what i've read, it's mainly a southern tradition which seems to come from 2 similiar civil war era legends. 1 of the North's soldiers raiding much of the South's food supplies on new year's eve but left black eyed peas, salted pork and rice. therefore, that was all there was left to eat on new year's day and sustain them through the winter and they were thankful not to starve.
the second doesn't indicate the North's soldier's raiding the South's food supplies, but, of them burning all the crops across the South except for the black eyed peas, perhaps because they thought them to be seeds. regardless of the reason, they were able to eat the black eyed peas on new year's day, etc., etc., etc..
in passing, i also saw something about the crops of black eyed peas adding much needed nutrients to southern soil and bountiful crops harvested each year where the black eyed peas had been planted the previous year, which also goes along with the good fortune aspect.
another thing i saw in passing was in addition to eating the above, other beans, like lentils, are eaten on new year's day to bring prosperity because they look like small coins, as well as greens, like collards, because they resemble paper money.
superstitious or not, it couldn't hurt!