This dish has a lot of pagan symbolism. The pork of course honors the pig, who forages forward and never looks back, reminding us to look forward into the new year and not dwell in our past. The sauerkraut represents prosperity (cabbage being an old slang word for cash) and longevity (the long, thin strips of kraut remind us of a long life line).
Historically, the first kraut of the season made from the late fall harvest of cabbages would have been ready to eat around early January, making it fitting with this time of year. But most importantly its completely delicious. Like most peasant dishes, this recipe is open to wide adaptation. Most families cook this dish in a crockpot, but I think they’re missing out on the beautiful caramelization and varieties of textures that oven roasting provides.