Caption: A photo of steamed dumplings with chili oil drizzled on them on a metal plate at 88 Lan Zhou Handmade Noodles in New York City. (Local Guide Walter Lee)Here in the United States, particularly in the South, it’s tradition to eat black-eyed peas first thing on New Year’s Day to ensure good luck and prosperity in the new year. In Spain, exactly 12 grapes must be eaten for the promise of a good year, while Italians scramble for lentils at the stroke of midnight. And while New Year’s Day in the Gregorian calendar sense is firmly in the past, Chinese New Year is just around the corner.
On Tuesday, February 5, the Year of the Pig kicks off with celebrations that are also known as the Spring Festival. In addition to spending time with family, setting off fireworks, and exchanging little red envelopes full of money, celebrations typically include foods that are considered lucky in Chinese culture.
Ensure your good fortune in the new year with these five lucky dishes:
At the center of many Chinese New Year feasts, you’ll find steamed dumplings. They are said to symbolize prosperity due to their resemblance to an ancient Chinese currency.
2. Spring rolls
Another symbol of prosperity due to their golden color and shape similar to a bar of gold, these rolls get their name for the season they kick off when served during the Spring Festival.
3. Whole fish
A whole steamed fish is often found on the table during celebrations for the new year because the word for fish in Mandarin sounds like the word for surplus, symbolizing a prosperous year ahead. Also, because the fish is whole that prosperity will last the whole year.
4. Peking duck
When cooked, peking duck has crispy, red skin, a very lucky color in Chinese culture that symbolizes happiness. This dish also represents fidelity and wholesomeness in the year to come.
5. Longevity noodles
These nearly two-foot-long noodles are often eaten during the Spring Festival to ensure a long life. Be sure not to cut your longevity short by breaking them!
Do you celebrate Spring Festival? Tell us what lucky foods you eat in the comments below!