The festival of Chinese New Year is celebrated each winter by people around the world. And like any great holiday, the celebrations center around the food. The holiday marks the start of spring (it’s the second new moon after winter solstice, to be exact) and the renewal of the lunar calendar. Chinese astrology revolves around twelve animal signs: Dog, Dragon, Horse, Monkey, Ox, Pig, Rabbit, Rat, Rooster, Sheep, Snake, and Tiger. Each year is assigned an astrological sign and that sign is celebrated once every twelve years.
If you’ve visited Chinatown recently, it’s likely you’ve encountered bright red and yellow sheep decorations. That’s because 2015 is the year of the sheep, or the ram or the goat depending on how you plan to interpret the Chinese word “yuan,” which means “horned animal.” The festival is meant to drum up enough good wishes and look to last throughout the whole year, so enjoy one of these foods this week to bring prosperity, healthy and happiness to you and your family.
Eat rice cakes because they are delicious but also to celebrate the start of the rice harvest in the spring. These rice cakes are a bit labor-intensive but this authentic dish is delicious and special enough to be eaten once a year.
Noodles, with their seemingly endless length are a classic symbol of longevity. Long strands of egg noodles, rice noodles and wheat noodles fill up the banquet tables of Chinese New Year celebrations.
Gorge on dumplings to bring wealth throughout the year. Dumplings are served to represent money because their round shape is similar to that of ancient Chinese gold ingots used as currency. This step-by-step guide with helpful photos will have you rolling pork and cabbage dumplings like a pro in no time.
4. Whole Fish
Fish is a classic symbol of good luck and good fortune. Eat a delicious whole steamed fish during the Chinese New Year to bring prosperity for the year.
5. Pomelo Salad
Pomelos are also a symbol of prosperity and represent a family’s good standing. This giant fragrant citrus is delicious on its own or in a salad.
6. Spring Rolls
This extremely popular dim sum dish is served during New Year’s celebrations to announce the arrival of spring. Usually filled with pork and a combination of vegetables, it is said that when perfectly fried, spring rolls have the rich color of gold coins.
These sturdy leafy vegetables are eaten whole during the New Year’s festival to ensure one’s parents live a long life.
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Photo by Robin Lee