Growing up, we ALWAYS had to have Pork and Kraut for our meal on January 1st. I can remember mom steaming the pork roast for several hours, tying the black pan together with shoestrings. She would then dump the kraut on top and steam it all together for another hour or so. The sour, yet sweet, smell permeated throughout the 1200 sq ft farm home.
When I was younger, I didn't know why we had to have the dreadingly bland looking meal (for of course it was always served with boiled potatoes) on every . single . New Years day. When I would question it, all I would receive was "it's bad luck if you don't so eat up." Okay, that still didn't answer much as to why we did it, but like a good little girl I did what I was told. Now I know it is because of our heritage that we partake in such tradition. According to Pennsylvania Dutch tradition, pork and sauerkraut will bring good luck to you and your family in the year ahead... if it's eaten on New Year's Day.
It still doesn't explain the why or how it brings good luck, but I will continue the tradition, because goodness knows, I need all the luck I can receive.