Ohio.com explains why it’s a New Year’s tradition to eat pork and sauerkraut in PA-
A Pennsylvania Dutch tradition says that it’s good luck to eat pork for the new year because pigs forage forward for their food and don’t look back.
Immigrants from Germany and across Eastern Europe brought the sauerkraut and pork tradition to Northeast Ohio. The practice probably has more to do with harvest and slaughter times than predicting good fortune.
In years past, food in the larder for winter was the equivalent of prosperity. Having a hog to slaughter and pork to eat at New Year’s meant a family would have food for the winter months.
Because cabbage is a late fall crop, the most efficient way to preserve it for the winter was by turning it into sauerkraut. Brining cabbage takes 6 to 8 weeks, which means that October kraut would be ready to eat just as the new year was arriving.