Offerings to the Kitchen God, made before the end of the lunar calendar.
A “harmony tray” of nine snacks symbolizing wealth, good fortune and family unity.
Gifts symbolizing wealth and good fortune, such as tangerines for good luck, candies in the shape of gold coins for wealth, flowers or homemade pastries.
Won tons, representing blessings such as good fortune and wealth.
A family feast to reaffirm kinship and pay respect to heads of households.
A whole fish, signifying prosperity and placed pointing to the guest of honor, is often the centerpiece of the meal and the last dish to be served. Fish and fowl served whole with the head suggest “a favorable start and finish.”
Tofu, pork, roast duck and chicken may also be served, as they, too, represent good luck. Asian noodles, especially long, whole noodles, are served because they represent long life. For New Year’s in Northern China, dumplings are served while noodles are eaten in the south.
Thin vermicelli noodles are called “silvery threads of longevity.” Seasoned pork shoulder is “Mist of Harmony.” The names of food served during the New Year suggest auspicious things. Some Chinatown merchants even put away foods that sound negative, such as “bittermelon.”
Among Chinese dining customs: