Look around you; streets are beginning to come alive with festive colours and decorations, most distinctly with red lanterns. 2014, Lunar New Year, celebrates the year of the horse. The year of the horse, symbolise a year of success - this interpretation is derived from the portraying of the horse as a symbol of travel, competition and victory.
This symbolic festival progresses over 15 days. It is the longest and most important festival for many Asian cultures across countries including China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.
Falling on the 31st of January this year, it is a time where families unite, enjoy rich foods and pay respect to the elders. Streets come to life as family and friends gather to watch lion dance performances, where drums can be heard from afar, fire crackers are lit, and auspicious calligraphy hangings are decorated on doors.
Food is the cornerstone of Lunar New Year, like many cultural traditions are. In true spirit of the wonderful 15 day celebration, we have found nine popular dishes that are not only delicious but are dishes that will bring you good fortune for the year to come.
#1 Rice cakes(nian gao) : The tradition of eating rice cakes goes back some 3,000 years. The Chinese word for rice cakes translate to the meaning 'increasing prosperity year after year'.
#2 Whole Fish: the character of prosperity is yu, is a homophone for the word for fish. Families buy a whole fish, which symbolises unity. It is typical to ensure leftovers for the next day as it is believed that prosperity will overflow.
#3 Tangyuan (Sweet rice balls): these sweet rice balls are traditionally eaten on the last day of the festival. The roundness of the rice balls signifies a complete circle of harmony and unity within the family. They are served in a soup and traditional filling
#4 Dumplings: Traditionally, families will spend New Year Eve preparing dumplings and then eat them on New Year's Day. The dumpling is shaped like an ingot which signifies wealth. The traditional saying associated with dumplings is 'ring out the old year and ring in the new'. Some believe the more dumplings you eat on the eve the more wealth you will have for the coming year.
#5 Long noodles: Long noodles represent the concept of longevity and are usually served uncut.
#6 Shui guo (fruit): Mandarin and oranges are a common fruit eaten during the festival, the word translating to lucky or auspicious.
#7 Spring rolls: The golden colour of the Spring roll is believed to represent gold bars- which of course symbolises wealth.
#8 Chicken: The chicken should be served whole. This symbolises unity and good marriage between two families.
#9 Lettuce cups (san choi bao): The Cantonese word for lettuce sounds like rising fortune, so it is common to serve lettuce wraps filled with other lucky food.
We have a range of recipes containing these lucky ingredients that will make your Lunar New Year feast all the more special. To get you in the mood for lunar New Year festivities, try some of our delicious recipes:
Kung Hei Fat Choi from the Asian Home Gourmet team!
ok around you; streets are beginning to come alive with festive colours and decorations, most distinctly with red lanterns. 2014, Lunar New Year, celebrates the year of the horse. The year of the horse, symbolise a year of success - this interpretation is derived from the portraying of the horse as a symbol of travel, competition and victory.