Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Chinese Good Luck Foods for New Year

Over the Chinese New Year dishes are prepared whole as the use of knives is considered unlucky as this could sever the entire family's good fortune. When cooking, people generally avoid chopping up fish, leafy greens and other items such as noodles. Almost every dish has a symbolic meaning or name that sounds like a Chinese characters for fortune, happiness, longevity and prosperity.

Seaweed with dried oysters sounds like "wealth and good business," lotus roots mean abundance year after year, while lettuce translates into "growing wealth" and pig's tongue forecasts "profit." When families visit each other to exchange New Year greetings it is customary to take gifts such as tangerines and oranges, as their Chinese names sound like "gold" and "wealth".

In many homes, a platter with either 5 meat or 5 vegetable dishes might be served. This dish is called "the five blessings of the new year," referring to longevity, riches, peace, wisdom and virtue.

On New Year's Eve, when everyone gathers around the table for the "Family Reunion Dinner" and carp is a typical main course, because it symbolises a profitable year ahead. The fish is never fully eaten to ensure that the family will have an excess of good fortune through the year.
During the New Year month, auspicious ingredients such as oysters, seaweed, abalone, and sea cucumber are added to the feast as symbols of good fortune. Fish represent "having enough to spare," while the word for garlic chives has the meaning of "everlasting," wishing your family and guests a long life. Turnips mean "good omens," and oysters in Chinese, sounds like the word for "an auspicious occasion or event."

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