If you love Chinese food, you probably love to celebrate the Chinese New Year. But, have you ever thought about what Chinese New Year food represents? Just like an American New Year, each item on the menu is symbolic and holds a special place on the table, and the items are not simply thrown together for the holiday. These dishes may bring wealth, happiness, prosperity or luck. Other foods on a Chinese New Year menu symbolize family and togetherness. When it comes to putting together a menu or throwing a party, it's important to know which Chinese New Year foods to serve and what each food symbolizes.
When starting to prepare your menu, you will find several types of food that symbolize luck, such as tangerines, noodles and dumplings. During the Chinese New Year, it isn't uncommon to see bowls of tangerines placed in the home or to see tangerines given as gifts. Dumplings are also served with a meat filling as a way of ushering in luck. If you'd like to bring your guests a little good luck, you could always prepare meat dumplings and a tangerine dipping sauce.
Food Means Family
The Chinese New Year meal is one of the most important of the year because it brings the family together. Family is central in the Chinese culture. That's why it's not surprising that so many types of food served during the Chinese New Year represent family. Foods such as dumplings, whole fish, whole chicken, mixed vegetables and green vegetables each represent the family in a different way and are served to represent family togetherness. For example, mixed vegetables symbolize harmony in the family. When serving the chicken and fish, guests should be sure to keep the heads on for wholeness. Also, don't eat all the fish. If you leave some fish behind, then you will have plenty in the next year.
Finding Wealth in Your Food
Many cultures eat food that symbolizes wealth in the New Year, and the Chinese culture is no exception. Black moss seaweed, ginkgo nuts, dumplings and oranges all represent wealth. In fact, the Chinese word for black moss seaweed sounds like the word for wealth. Oranges are also symbolic of wealth because the pronunciation is similar to that of the Chinese word for wealth. Regarding dumplings, the shape of the dumpling resembles money that was used in China long ago. When you serve the dumplings, tell your guests to chew carefully. Sometimes, dumplings are sometimes prepared with a coin inside, and whoever bites the coin will enjoy wealth.
Happiness for the New Year
The Chinese New Year is filled with food that symbolizes happiness. Shrimp and chicken all symbolize happiness. However, you won't see fresh tofu on the table since the color white symbolizes death and misfortune.
Eating Chinese New Year food that ensures prosperity covers almost all the bases. A prosperous New Year means wealth, growth and success. If you're looking for Chinese New Year foods that will ensure prosperity, you need to serve sticky rice cakes, lettuce and noodles. A sticky rice cake is made with rice flour and topped with dates. The cake is then steamed and eaten. As for noodles, they represent longevity, and you should not cut them. Along those lines, you should prepare your feast in advance, as you should not use knives or scissors on New Year's Day.
When looking at the symbolic meaning of Chinese New Year food, you may notice that many of the foods served during the Chinese New Year have multiple meanings. Dumplings, for example, symbolize family, happiness and luck. With each Chinese New Year food having so many different meanings, it's easy to serve a meal that will bring you luck, happiness, wealth, prosperity and family togetherness.
If you're interested in serving an authentic Chinese New Year menu, take time to choose food that suits your needs that particular year. And prepare to fill your belly, as Chinese New Year feasts include many courses. If you don't want to prepare a whole menu, at least set out tangerines to ensure wealth and luck for you and your family. Once you understand more about what Chinese New Year food symbolizes, you can feel confident serving your guests and sharing your newfound knowledge.
If you're anxious to join the Chinese New Year revelries on February 7, 2008, you'll be joining millions of party-goers the world over who are also celebrating the Year of the Rat. The Chinese New Year is a time for parades, dance performances, fireworks, and dozens of special foods and meals.
Chinese New Year food is symbolic and represents good luck, health and long life. If you understand the symbolism of the food, you can create a happy Chinese New Year that much more of a meaningful celebration. Here are some of the most common foods and what they represent.
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