Thu. Apr 2nd, 2020

8 Chinese New Year Lucky Foods Symbolism For Prosperity

4 min read
8 Chinese New Year Lucky Foods Symbolism For Prosperity_Zhu Zhar Meal

8 Chinese New Year Lucky Foods Symbolism For Prosperity

Check out these 8 Chinese New Year Lucky Foods Symbolism For Prosperity to eat during the festivities! Malaysians eat certain dishes for their symbolism during the Chinese New Year.

The 16-day festival, which starts on Chinese New Year’s Eve, is believed to bring good fortune for the coming year.

The auspicious symbolism of these ingredients and foods is based on their appearance or pronunciations. The preparations, serving, and eating of lucky foods play an important role in Chinese households.

Most Chinese families will stock up on fish, prawns, dumplings, spring rolls, pineapple tarts, and Nian Gao.

#1 Steamed Fish Dish — an Increase in Prosperity

“Fish” (鱼 Yú /yoo/) sounds like ‘surplus’ in Chinese. The Chinese are hard-working, thrifty people and like to have a surplus at the end of the year.

They like to know that have saved money at the end of the year. When they do, they can make more in the next year by working and being thrifty.

Chinese serve the fish as the last dish before the rice

They often serve the fish dish last before the rice dishes in most Chinese banquet dinners at restaurants. Even at home, it should be the last dish served with a leftover.

This has an auspicious homophonic for there be surpluses every year.

We observe these customs in a lively and light-hearted spirit, full of laughing and banter.

How to cook the fish?

We can cook fish in various ways with steaming as the favorite to taste the fresh sweetness of the flesh. In restaurants and at home, a favorite cooking method is steamed fish in soy sauce with pickled cabbage and chili.

8 Chinese New Year Lucky Foods Symbolism For Prosperity_Steamed Fish Dish
CHINESE NEW YEAR greeting “Nian Nian You Yu” is an auspicious greeting meaning abundant Year By Year. This greeting means Abundance with the same pronunciation “Yu” which is Fish but in a different Chinese character. Fish is used to represent abundance to the Chinese.

#2 Chinese Dumplings — Wealth

In North China, dumplings (饺子 Jiǎozi /jyaoww-dzrr/) is a traditional dish eaten on Chinese New Year’s Eve. They form the Chinese dumplings to look like boat-shaped, oval Chinese silver ingots.

Dumplings have minced meat and finely chopped vegetables filling wrapped in a thin dough wrapper skin. Popular fillings are minced pork or beef, ground chicken, fish, diced shrimp, and vegetables. The dumplings are eaten boiled, steamed, fried, or even baked.

Chinese believe that the more dumplings you eat during the New Year celebrations, the more money you can make in the coming year.

8 Chinese New Year Lucky Foods Symbolism For Prosperity_Chinese Dumplings
The Chinese dumplings are formed to look like boat-shaped, oval Chinese silver ingots.

#3 Spring Rolls — Wealth

Traditionally eaten during the Spring Festival, Spring rolls (春卷 Chūnjuǎn /chwnn- jwen/) is a dish popular in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. In Penang, the version is called Choon Pneah.

These are cylindrical-shaped rolls filled with vegetables, meat, and even sweet fillings wrapped in thin dough wrappers. This popular Cantonese dim sum dish is served deep-fried to a golden-yellow color.

8 Chinese New Year Lucky Foods Symbolism For Prosperity_Spring Rolls
In Penang, the version is called Choon Pneah.

#4 Glutinous Rice Cake — a Higher Income or Position

Steamed glutinous rice cake (年糕 Niángāo /nyen-gaoww/) is chewy, sweet, and a delicacy made only during Chinese New Year. The name Niángāo sounds like “getting higher year-on- by year”‘. To the Chinese people, getting higher means prosperity and improved stature in life.
The main ingredients of Nian Gao are sticky rice, sugar, chestnuts, Chinese dates, and lotus leaves.

Glutinous Rice Cake

# 5 Sweet Rice Balls — Family Togetherness

During Winter Solstice, Sweet rice ball (汤圆 Tāngyuán /tung-ywen/) is eaten. We associate the pronunciation and round shape of Tāngyuán with a family reunion and coming together.

8 Chinese New Year Lucky Foods Symbolism For Prosperity_Longan Dessert
Sweet rice ball with dried longan dessert. Photo: Doris Lim

# 6 Longevity Noodles — Happiness and Longevity

Longevity noodles are longer than normal noodles. These are cooked uncut and served. It is symbolic of the eater’s wish for longevity. Longevity noodles (长寿面 Chángshòu Miàn /chung-show myen/) are fried or boiled. Lucky foods can be noodles that served on a plate or in a bowl with a broth.

8 Chinese New Year Lucky Foods Symbolism For Prosperity_Longevity Noodles
Noodles in soup.

# 7 Good Fortune Fruit — Fullness and Wealth

Mandarin Oranges, Tangerines and Pomelos are popular for their round shape and “golden” color. We eat these lucky foods or fruits during the Chinese New Year period. These symbolize fullness and wealth. Eating and displaying Mandarin Orange, Tangerines and Pomelos are believed to bring good luck and fortune. The pronunciation and even writing sound like gold and success.
The Chinese for orange (and tangerine) is 橙 (chéng /chnng/), which sounds like ‘success’ (成). The writing Tangerine (桔 jú /jyoo) contains the Chinese character for luck (吉 jí /jee). The Chinese word for Pomelo (柚 yòu /yo) sounds like ‘to have’ (有 yǒu).

8 Chinese New Year Lucky Foods Symbolism For Prosperity_Mandrian Oranges
Lucky Mandarin Orange is given as gifts and eaten during the Chinese New Year.

#8 Prosperity Toss Yee Sang

We know the 7th day of the Chinese New Year asMankind’s birthday“.

“Yee Sang“ is a traditional dish of raw fish, shredded vegetables, lime, pickled ginger, and various fried crunchies.

The salad is mixed, tossed, and shared by a family, a  “of friends or even colleagues. This gathering is a symbolism of togetherness. The group will mix and toss the ingredients with chopsticks amidst shouts of “Loh Hei”. When we toss the higher, the greater the prosperity they will enjoy throughout the year.

Are there any special food that you cook for your family to usher in Luck for the New Year?

Smart Dory wishes all everyone
Mandarin: 新年快乐 (Xīn Nián Kuài Lè)
Hokkien: Keong Hee Huat Chye
Cantonese: San Nin Fai Lok

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