New Year celebrations don’t truly end on January 1 of every year. For most of us, we look forward to the Chinese New Year as we tune in to the must-do’s, practices as well as must-have charms and decors at home. In this big celebration, certain dishes are served because they are believed to symbolize good luck, and are believed to bring good fortune into the home for the entire year. Make sure to serve these meals for a lucky year this 2017!
Fish for Prosperity
Fish symbolize prosperity, as the Chinese translation of fish sounds like “surplus.” In Chinese culture, surplus at the end of the year is considered a good thing. They believe that if they are able to save something until the end of this year, they can save more next year.
Typically, Crucian carp, Chinese mud carp and catfish are the top choices for fish, and it has much to do with the way the translations sound in Chinese as well. For example, the first Chinese character of “crucian carp” sounds like the Chinese word for “good luck.” The first character of the Chinese translation of “mud carp” sounds like the Chinese word for “gifts,” and the Chinese for “catfish” sounds a lot like the Chinese word for “year surplus.”
Dumplings for Wealth
Prominent in Chinese tradition, dumplings are considered a staple in Chinese delicacy with its existence of more than a thousand years. Chinese dumplings are created specifically to look like boat-shaped, oval treats with various fillings, from minced meat to finely chopped vegetables. The way dumplings are served mean something too – dumplings need to be served in lines instead of circles, because circles would represent a life that “goes nowhere.”
Long Noodles for Long Life
Much like how we believe eating spaghetti on your birthday would bring you a long and healthy life, so do the Chinese believe that eating long noodles during Chinese New Year will bring you a long and happy life too. Long noodles are longer than your regular noodles though and are uncut. They are also served either fried or boiled with broth.
Round Fruits for Wealth
Tangerines, oranges and pomelos are king in this area. The Chinese believe that these fruits’ round shape symbolize fullness, and their golden color symbolizes wealth. These fruits are also believed to bring about good fortune because of their names – tangerines and oranges, in Chinese, sound much like the Chinese word for “success,” while “pomelo” in Chinese sounds like the Chinese translation of the phrase “to have.”
Spring Rolls for Abundance
Cylindrical in shape and filled with vegetables, meat and sweet sauce, Chinese spring rolls are given such name because they are traditionally eaten during the Spring Festival. But beyond the Spring Festival, the Chinese serve spring rolls during the Chinese New Year too because they look like gold bars.
Nian Gao for Achievements
Nian Gao loosely translates to “year cake” in English, but the Chinese word “gao” sounds the same for the Chinese counterpart of the word “high.” The similarity in pronunciation is what gave rise to Nian Gao being considered symbolic of achieving new heights in the year to come. This cake is glutinous and very sweet, as it is made of glutinous rice flour, brown sugar and oil – making it a perfect dessert at the end of the meal.
Jai for Good Luck
Jai is a delicious mix of different vegetables and noodles, and is said to be eaten as it is part of Buddhist culture to cleanse oneself with vegetables. It’s also a mix of various foods that are said to bring good luck: sea moss symbolizes prosperity, noodles symbolize longevity of life and lily buds symbolize a hundred years of harmonious marriage.
If you’re planning to celebrate the Chinese New Year and hoping to invite more luck into your home, you can definitely start by serving these delectable dishes. Not only are they believed to bring about good fortune, but they are also delicious for the entire family to eat. If you’ll be having many guests over, you can enlist the help of our trusted caterers to bring the good luck right to your doorstep. Head on over to Gawin Direct to select from the predesigned packages, fill in the necessary details then you’re good to go!
written by Bea Luna