Essential foods for Chinese New Year's Eve
The first day of the first lunar month is Spring Festival, the beginning of a new year for China. Spring Festival is China's biggest extravaganza and a day for family reunion. Being around family members at the turn of the year is a vital ritual for the Chinese people.
The Spring Festival celebration is a continuous process, starting from the 23rd or 24th of the 12th lunar month. People often worship the kitchen god, clean their houses, do their shopping and put up Spring Festival couplets (blessing words posted on door frames) until New Year's Eve on the lunar calendar.
In addition to staying up late on New Year's Eve, having an elaborate dinner is also key to the Spring Festival celebration. The New Year's Eve dinner has been manifested in different ways around China.
Those in South China must have a dish of fish, because "fish" in Chinese sounds similar to the character for "prosperity", symbolizing an abundant and comfortable life. Those in North China often eat dumplings, which symbolize "reunion" and "fortune".
Spring Festival is just around the corner. Let's take a look at some essential dishes on the New Year's Eve dinner table!
Dumplings are a very common dish for northern China, symbolizing reunion and fortune. Dumplings' shape resembles gold ingots from ancient China. For Chinese people, eating some dumplings means bringing more treasure and wealth in the coming New Year.
Sweet dumplings are made from glutinous rice flour. The fillings can vary from region to region. The round shape of the sweet dumplings symbolizes "reunion".
"Fish" in Chinese sounds similar to the character for "prosperity", symbolizing an abundant and comfortable life. Most families will have fish for their New Year's Eve dinner.