I didn't realize that consuming black-eyed peas is generally considered Southern. Interestingly, the articles I referenced while researching New Year's Day traditions for my cookbook update say so. Thought to attract good luck in general and financial good fortune, eating black-eyed peas, with pork (hogs symbolize prosperity), and cabbage (leaves represent paper currency) on New Year's day are thought to set the tone for the coming year.
Snopes.com presented the most comprehensive list of traditions, from why we kiss at Midnight to why our cupboards should be filled to why we shouldn't throw anything out of the house on the day. The oddest of these superstitions was that the first person to cross your threshold should be a tall, handsome, dark-haired man bearing small gifts – "a lump of coal, a silver coin, a bit of bread, a sprig of evergreen and some salt." Apparently we should not allow blondes or redheads to be the first persons in the door, and God help us if the "first footer" is a female. The article says "aim a gun at them if you have to, but don't let them near your door before a man crosses the threshold," as they'll bring "disaster down on the household."
I don't know about all that, but I know we'll eat our peas, pork and cabbage.