Spring Festival 春节 - Chinese New Year 农历新年

One Chinese belief: The heart of the family resides in the kitchen.
Do you know why certain food are eaten during this special time of celebration?

Chinese New Year is a time for feasting, family reunions and fun! Each year, Asians throughout the world spend weeks preparing for the 15-days of celebration, officially called the Spring Festival.

Chinese New Year (CNY) is a time for families. Before this day, weeks will be spend cleaning the house in order to usher in the new year. Activities from painting of the interiors, doors, throwing away spoilt or broken or old stuffs. Then on this day, eating of special foods prepared or cooked before this day. The celebration lasted for a full 15 days. The symbolic significance of festive foods from mandarin oranges, harmony trays filled with lychee and nuts and other snacks to symbolize good fortune. Fish is the other 'lucky food' which is enjoyed the night before Chinese New Year.

In 2019, the CNY will be celebrated on the 5th February 2019. This day marks the first day of the first Chinese lunar month. This year, Chinese all over the World welcomes the Year of the Pig

10 Special CNY Food Symbolism:
1. Serve the chicken whole = Family togetherness.
A proper beginning and end to the year and a wholeness of life on earth

2. Serve Noodles = A long life (it's bad luck to cut them)

3. Lettuce = Rising Fortune
The Cantonese word for lettuce sounds like rising fortune,(Cantonese word for lettuce saang choi, sounds like plentiful wealth). Hence, it is good to serve a lettuce wrap filled with other lucky food.

4. Serve Clams and Oysters = Wealth
The opening of the shell represents a fresh beginning for the new year. It resembles bouillon, the ancient coins

5. Mushrooms = Prosperity
They grow quickly.

6. Shrimp = Happiness
The Cantonese word for shrimp is "ha," which sounds like the word for laughter, so it represents happiness.

7. Serve Spring Rolls = Wealth
They resembles Gold Bars

8. Luck, Wealth, Abundance
Tangerines = LUCK
Oranges = WEALTH
Pomelos (Grapefruit)
The Chinese word for Pomelo = 'to have' which makes this fruit signifies ABUNDANCE

9. Fish = Wish & Abundance
The word for fish, "Yu," sounds like the words both for wish and abundance.
On New Year's Eve it is customary to serve a fish at the end of the evening meal, symbolizing a wish for abundance in the coming year. For added symbolism, the fish is served whole, with head and tail attached, symbolizing a good beginning and ending for the coming year.

10. Sweet, steamed cakes, Sticky Rice Cake = Rich, Sweet Life, Rising Abundance
Sweetness symbolizes a rich, sweet life, while the layers symbolize rising abundance for the coming year.
The round shape signifies family reunion.

How the food sounds matters :)

Foods that are avoided:
Melon — The word for melon is "gua," which sounds like death (in cantonese)
Tofu — The "fu" rhymes with negativity.


NihaoHello aims to cater to the new generation's growing interest to learn Mandarin Chinese. Homeschool and specialise in tutoring English speakers to speak essential but confident Mandarin Chinese. For beginner language learners to readily put to use as soon as the global recession recovers.