8 lucky foods for the year of the Sheep/Goat

What’s in store for the year of the Sheep/Goat and what to eat for a lucky, healthy and prosperous New Year? Everything you need to know…

lucky chinese new year food

  • Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year?
  • Is it the year of the Sheep, Goat or Ram?
  • What will the New Year bring?
  • How to say Happy New Year greetings in different languages
  • 8 Lucky foods for the New Year

About Lunar/Chinese New Year

While it’s most commonly referred to in the West as Chinese New Year, the festival is celebrated in many Asian countries; China including 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.

Based on the lunar calendar, New Year’s Day is different each year and the most inclusive term is Lunar New Year. You’ll hear it referred to by many names:

  • Chinese New Year
  • Lunar New Year
  • Spring Festival
  • Tet (Vietnam)

There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac and five elements (water, metal, earth, fire, wood).

Is it the Year of the Sheep, Ram or Goat?

chinese zodiac noodlies

For Chinese, 2015 is most often referred to as the year of the Sheep or Ram – the Chinese character is the same for both animals. For Vietnamese, it’s only known as the year Goat (in fact, the Chinese character used for Sheep or Ram could also include Goat).

So depending on your culture, 2015 is the year of the Sheep or Ram or Goat.

Naturally, the New Year is about family and looking forward. It can be a time of great superstition -people 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 Sheep/Ram/Goat

According to Chinese Fortune Calendar the Sheep is a good sign: “Sheep’s Chinese character is Chinese Sheep Character Yang… The Chinese character of Luck Chinese Luck Character contains the Chinese Sheep Character. The pronunciation of Chinese Luck Character is Xiang, which is close to Yang Chinese Sheep Character. Therefore, Sheep becomes a lucky animal. The sound of Chinese Yang Character Yang is same to Chinese Yang Character Yang of Yin Yang. Chinese Yang Character Yang means the positive energy in the universe”.

Sheep/Goats are “Gentle, elegant, smart, assertive, artistic, creative, curious, shy, determined, and compassionate. Can be indecisive, pessimistic or moody. Tend to run away from problem instead of facing and fixing it” according to Chinese Fortune Calendar.

When is Lunar or Chinese New Year in 2015?

Lunar New Year falls on Thursday, 19th February 2015. Celebrations start from New Year’s Day and ends 15 days into the New Year with the lantern festival; a time for couples it’s also referred to as Chinese Valentines Day (although some start the celebrations from New Year’s Eve).

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 2015 Tet, Lunar or Chinese New Year in Sydney?

There are at least 14 Festivals across Sydney, from west, south, north to inner-city and CBD.  Noodlies has compiled a list of 2015 Lunar New Year festivals in Sydney.

Food to bring good luck in the year of the Sheep/Goat

Chinese New Year food

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 Lunar/Chinese New Year foods:

  1. Spring rolls, Dumplings: is all about wealth, in addition to being delicious, their shapes resemble ancient Chinese gold ingots.
  2. Fish: for prosperity as it sounds like “abundance” in Chinese, eat whole fish for wealth all year ’round.
  3. 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!
  4. Tangerines, oranges: is believed to bring wealth, in Chinese tangerine sounds like “luck”, while orange sounds like “gold”.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Lettuce: sounds like “growing wealth” in Chinese.
  8. 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 New Year whether you celebrate the Sheep, Ram or Goat!