|FROM : JOLLIBEE KIDS WORKSHOP
Chinese New Year is considered to be the most important festival for Filipino-Chinese in the Philippines. In 2012, it was the first time that Chinese New Year was declared a special non-working holiday throughout the country. Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festival in the Chinese calendar. The origin of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions.
Good Luck Foods for Chinese New Year
While the Western New Year is more about drinking, the Chinese New Year is an opportunity to honor family and friends, and to enjoy some culinary traditions.
Tangerines and Oranges.
Displaying and eating these fruits is said to bring wealth and luck. According to the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, the tradition stems from the way the Chinese words for gold and orangesound alike, while the word for tangerine echoes luck. “It’s good if they have leaves,” adds Lum, “because leaves symbolize longevity.” But don’t group them in fours, because, Dunlop says, this number is associated with death.
If noodles are served, then “keep them as long as possible for long life,” says Lum.
The Tray of Togetherness.
Put out for visiting rela tives to snack on, or given as a gift, the eight (“a traditionally symbolic lucky number,” explains Dunlop) compartments of the tray are filled with things such as preserved kumquats for prosperity, coconut for togetherness, longans to bring many sons, and red melon seeds for happiness.
“Nian gao means year cake, but gao sounds the same as the word for tall or high,” says Dunlop. Hence the cakes symbolize achieving new heights in the coming year. The steamed sweets are made of glutinous rice flour, brown sugar, and oil. Some versions have white sesame seeds, red dates, or nuts in them (the dates are said to bring “early prosperity,” writes Gong in Good Luck Life).
This large citrus fruit is popular, writes Gong, because it is thought to bring “continuous prosperity and status.” The tradition comes from the way the Cantonese phrase for pomelo sounds similar to the words forprosperity and status, explains Lum.
Long Leafy Greens and Long Beans.
Gong writes that leafy greens, such as Chinese broccoli, are “served whole to wish a long life for parents.”
The Chinese word for fish sounds like the word for abundance, says Lum. It’s important that the fish is served with the head and tail intact, writes Gong, “to ensure a good start and finish and to avoid bad luck throughout the year.”
Serving desserts brings a sweet life in the new year. Gong writes that a childhood favorite was the flaky cookie pockets called gok jai, filled with peanuts, coconut, and sesame.
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