Fri, Jan 27, 2006 - Page 10 News List

What to eat during Lunar New Year

What should you eat to celebrate the New Year? It's easy to be dazzled and overwhelmed by all the different choices, so let us introduce you to a few must-have foods that you can prepare as you wish to ensure a happy new year.


Every New Year, each family puts sweets in a festive red box on a table in their living room to share with guests. The candies sweeten your mouth and your heart, and even bring you good luck to the coming year as well. Aside from just normal candy, people also traditionally eat shiny candied winters melon to bless their ancestors and bring good fortune for the new year.


Because the Chinese words for ``rice cake'' and ``advancement'' are pronounced the same, rice cakes represent progress. They come in many different varieties, from salty to sweet and everything in between. It's a must-have for almost every house. Aside from steaming or deep frying it, you can also lightly fry it or put it in soup. It's a food that can take on many flavors.


Every house must have fresh fish and ``long year vegetables'' on New Year's eve. Long year vegetables, which are mustard greens, symbolize longevity. You won't be able to stop eating them once you start, which symbolizes extending your life, as well as blessing your parents and wishing the older generation a long life. Since the word ``fish'' has the same pronunciation as "surplus" in Chinese, the fish symbolizes having extra. It also represents a prayer for bountiful harvest and a year of plenty.


Most people also eat boiled dumplings stuffed with meat and vegetables during the New Year. Since the shape of the dumplings resembles a gold ingot, eating them symbolizes the gaining of wealth. Some people even stuff real coins into some of the dumplings, and those who find the coins while eating their dumplings will have a prosperous year.


On the Lantern Festival, which marks the end of the celebrations of the Lunar New Year, glutinous rice balls are a traditional must-have for everybody. The rice balls, called yuanxiao, have a cute, round shape, and symbolize family unity, completeness and happiness.


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