Sharing holiday dinners is one of the most important, if not the most important, part of celebrating the New Year, which is not a one-day event. Chinese New Year is celebrated over a couple of weeks. Plenty of time for everyone to have their own large dinner gatherings and attend other dinners! This time spread averts our own difficult Thanksgiving and Christmas problem: which dinner to attend. We often either end up only going to one and having to miss others, or going to a couple dinners—if they are staggered (ex., early in the afternoon and a second later in the afternoon or evening). Always a difficult decision.
No problem for Chinese New Year. A family can attend different dinners on different days. Thereby assuring their proper enjoyment of all the special foods!
And what are some of those foods?
FISH is an essential dish. The Chinese word for fish, yú 魚, is a homophone for excess and a surplus,s yú 餘.
So, overall, the fish is a strong good symbol for wealth and luck. The word fish is used in such optimistic and encouraging proverbs such as: a fish in water, which means congenial in general and good relations between husband and wife; and a surplus of luck, which refers especially to the luck that comes to virtuous families.
Serving a whole fish is also important because it signifies both the family as a unit and that the prosperity is for the whole family.
LONGEVITY NOODLES are another essential dish because the long noodles represent a long and happy life. Always a good thing, right? The noodles can be cooked in many different ways—boiled, fried and served on a plate or in a bowl—but they must be very long and uncut.
FRUIT, citrus fruits and lychee or longan (translated as dragon eye. See how the seed looks like a dragon’s eye!) in particular, are very popular since they also represent prosperity, family unity, abundance, happiness, and of course, good luck.
There are other delightful dishes and you can learn more at sites such as for the Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/02/10/chinese-new-year-food_n_6641164.html and China Highlights http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/festivals/chinese-new-year-flowers-and-fruits.htm or Googling Chinese New Year Dishes.
A HOLIDAY SPECIAL: In celebration of Chinese New Year, the young adult novel, Hidden, is free through Amazon from Saturday, January 21st through Monday, the 23rd. It’s an adventure/mystery story of survival and the bonds of friendship in ancient China. Go to the “books” tab and the Hidden link to Amazon or to Amazon.
The fish image is from popsugar.com/food/ and the longan image is from growables.org.