For the Chinese culture, reunion dinner is a significant event that happens on the eve of the Chinese New Year. Every member is expected to be present and during the dinner, a few dishes are commonly served on the table. The reason being that they are said to represent some kind of good fortune for the new year. Let’s take a look at some of the must-have traditional dishes and the symbolic meaning behind them:
Dumplings, commonly known as “Jiao zi” (饺子), are eaten to welcome the new year, and send the past year away. Chinese dumplings are also shaped like Chinese ingots, representing wealth. Is it believed that the more dumplings you eat, the wealthier you will be for the new year.
2. Longevity noodles
Longevity noodles, also known as “Chang Shou Mian” (长寿面), are eaten to represent a long life. When serving these noodles, you should not cut them into shorter strands. The longer the noodles, the longer your life will be.
A common chinese idiom is: “Nian Nian You Yu” (年年有余). The word “Yu” (余) itself means additional or extra. This idiom is commonly used to wish your families and friends a surplus of good fortune every year. Is it no doubt that steamed fish is a popular traditional dish served at every home.
4. Spring Rolls
Fried spring rolls are often associated with gold bars due to its size and shape. During spring festival in the olden times, people were often rewarded with spring rolls that are worth thousands. Spring rolls can be served as a snack or a dish by itself.
5. Rice Cake
Commonly known as “Nian Gao” (年糕), rice cakes are a must for Chinese New Year. “Nian Gao” directly translates to “high year”, and it represents a prosperous new year ahead. It can also symbolise an increase in your career and business prospects, academic goals, and even an increase in height for the younger kids.
6. Fortune Fruits
Fortune fruits such as Oranges, Tangerines and Pomeloes are also eaten as they symbolise wealth and fullness. Pineapple is also a prominent fruit during this festive season, as it translates to fortune cones from the Hokkien word “Ong Lai”.
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During this festive season, it no doubt that chinese food play an important role in every family gathering. Apart from emphasizing on family spirit, gatherings should also be celebrated along with symbolic food that are believed to bring great fortune for the whole family.