Culture > Festivals
Chinese New Year Food
2015-02-13 14:50     Source : chinatravel

With improved standards of living, choice food becomes affordable all year round. Therefore, people no longer display an insatiable craving for food during the Spring Festival.

Nonetheless, it is still important to include certain foods in the Spring Festivals meals, such as dumplings (jaozi), and New Year Cake, which not only satisfy the palate, but also symbolize the hope for a better and more abundant new year.

The family comes together

On New Year’s Eve, the whole family shares a hearty dinner. One dish is a whole fish. The Chinese word for fish sounds like the word for abundance.


It is important that the fish is served with the head and tail intact to ensure a good start and finish and to avoid bad luck throughout the year. It stands for togetherness and plentifulness. They share a Tray of Togetherness.

This dish holds eight sweet foods; each one has a special meaning for the New Year:

- Candied melon representing growth and good health;

- Red melon seeds, because the colour symbolizes joy, happiness and truth;

- Lychee nuts – close family ties;

- Kumquats – wealth;

- Coconut – togetherness;

- Peanuts signifying long life;

- Longans, said to bring many good sons;

- Lotus seeds attributed to fertility.

Long, uncut noodles are served, too. They stand for a long life. Some people think that cutting the noodles means cutting life short. For dessert, people eat niango.

That night, all the lights are kept on. At midnight, fireworks light up the sky and firecrackers explode. This scares away bad luck! These bright lights and loud noises are believed to fright away the old year and evil spirits.

Did you know? Firecrackers were once made from bamboo stems. The burning hollow stems make a loud sound as they split open. In the morning, each child receives a Lai-See envelope. It is a lucky red envelope with money inside.

Later that day, people visit relatives and friends.

People travel from all over China to be with their families on New Year’s Eve.

Another household member also returns on New Year’s Eve – the Kitchen God! The family hangs a new picture of him in the kitchen. People stay up very late on New Year’s Eve, feasting and visiting with family.

Editor: 容艳君