8 lucky foods for Lunar or Chinese New Year – Chuc Mung Nam Moi!
The most important festival across Asia, Lunar or Chinese New Year is celebrated in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea and thanks to the large Chinese diaspora, just about any Chinatown across the globe. Noodlies, Sydney food blog has seen this festival grow larger and larger in the West.
There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac and five elements (water, metal, earth, fire, wood). 2013 is the year of the water snake.
Based on the lunar calendar, New Year’s Day is different each year. It’s known by many names:
- Chinese New Year (the most popular)
- Lunar New Year
- Tet (in Vietnam)
- Spring Festival
- Year of the [insert animal sign]
Naturally, the New Year is about family and looking forward. It can be a time of great superstition, people to act, eat and observe traditions to maximise luck for the coming year. Dragon and lion dancing (see video below) is noisy and accompanied by fire crackers for a good reason – the noise and vigorous movement is meant to ward off evil and bad luck.
About the year of the water snake
The last water snake year was 1953. According to Aligned Signs, while Western culture associates snakes with negative characteristics such as being wily and dangerous, they are viewed in a more balanced way in the Chinese horoscope where snakes are associated with long life, protection and good fortune. They’re believed to be related to dragons, the luckiest and most prestigious sign. Because they shed their skins, snakes are also symbols of rebirth and renewal. In Chinese horoscope, they are a part of the natural world, to be respected not feared.
When is Lunar or Chinese New Year in 2013?
Lunar New Year falls on Sunday, 10 February 2013. The festival goes for 15 days, ending with the lantern festival, a time for couples it’s also referred to as Chinese Valentines Day.
Lunar or Chinese New Year traditions
For Vietnamese traditions and customs, see my post: Sh*t my dad says about Lunar New Year.
Lunar or Chinese New Year greetings
- Mandarin: gōng xǐ fā cái is the most common greeting “respectful wishes for your prosperity”
- Cantonese: gong hey fat choy is the Cantonese equivalent
- Vietnamese: chúc mừng năm mới, “happy new year”
Where can I celebrate 2013 Tet, Lunar or Chinese New Year in Sydney?
There are at least 12 Festivals across Sydney, from west, south, north to inner-city and CBD. Noodlies has compiled a list of 2013 Lunar New Year festivals in Sydney.
Food to bring good luck in the year of the Snake
Everyone wants good luck in the new year, in Asian cultures that celebrate Lunar New Year, this relates to three main areas: health, wealth and happiness – a common greeting for the New Year. For good luck in the new year, maybe you should try these 8 lucky foods:
- Spring rolls, Dumplings: is all about wealth, in addition to being delicious, their shapes resemble ancient Chinese gold ingots.
- Fish: for prosperity as it sounds like “abundance” in Chinese, eat whole fish for wealth all year ’round.
- Noodles: if you want long life, choose dishes with long strands of noodles, don’t cut them before you eat them otherwise you risk cutting short your life!
- Tangerines, oranges: is believed to bring wealth, in Chinese tangerine sounds like “luck”, while orange sounds like “gold”.
- Mut (candied fruit): their sweetness brings a sweet life and candied seeds such as lotus bring family happiness through more children (“mut” is a Vietnamese word). See noodlies video below for a visual description.
- Watermelon: Vietnamese believe good luck comes to the household if a watermelon is cut during New Year and the inside is red, the darker the red, the greater the prosperity.
- Lettuce: sounds like “growing wealth” in Chinese.
- Whole chicken: including head and feet: is symbolic of family reunion, togetherness and happiness. Make sure the chicken is as “whole” as possible, including head and feet.
Noodlies, Sydney food blog wishes all our readers great wealth, health and happiness in the Year of the Snake.