Happy Lunar New Year! Because I married into a Chinese-Canadian family, I’m a recent convert to the lunar new year celebrations. Every year, we gather with my husband’s family for a multi-course feast, where his grandmother and parents serve traditional dishes along with special delicacies. I learned that some of the foods even have symbolic meaning.
While the lunar new year is celebrated by many nationalities, here is a quick guide to some of the Chinese symbolic foods that I have will have this year:
Oranges: We always bring some oranges for my husband’s grandmother. They are meant to bring good luck and fortune. The word for orange sounds similar to the word for success.
Pomelos: These large citrus fruits are meant to bring prosperity, as the more you eat, the more abundance you will bring into your life
Noodles: Long noodles are said to bring about longevity. The longer the noodle, the greater the wish for a long life!
Fish: Fish served whole represents unity. The head of the fish is meant to be served facing the elder of the table, with them being the first person to serve themselves from the dish. It is also supposed to be the last dish with leftovers to signify a surplus which will carry into the new year.
Turnip Cake: My husband’s grandmother always sends us home with extra turnip cake. It is symbolic of fortune.
Mustard Greens: Mustard greens are the vegetable equivalent of long noodles, meaning that they also symbolize longevity.
Do you have any lunar new year favourite dishes? Let us know in the comment section.