Chinese New Year Celebration Tips

by Katie Chin, Tastemaker in Residence

Chinese New Year falls on January 28th, 2017 and it is the Year of the Rooster.   It is the most significant and auspicious Chinese holiday because it is believed that everything you do and everything you eat on Chinese New Year day determines how your entire year will unfold.  
Traditional dishes are eaten with names representing in some way luck, honor, longevity and riches such as "Firecracker Shrimp" (for good luck) or "Long Life Noodles" (for longevity; the longer the noodle, the longer the life).  Potstickers are served during Chinese New Year as they symbolize riches and prosperity (their shape resembles a gold ingot, an ancient form of Chinese currency). Click here for my potsticker recipe.

Many other symbolic foods are eaten, such as:  

  • Eggrolls — symbolizes prosperity as they're shaped like gold bars 
  • Shrimp — served at celebratory occasions as the Chinese word for shrimp resembles laughter — "har"
  • Whole Fish – symbolizes abundance
  • Whole Chicken — symbolizes a favorable start and finish
  • Black Mushrooms — symbolizes prosperity because of their coin-like shape
  • Lotus Seed – signifies having many male offspring

There are many delightful Chinese New Year customs and superstitions which are still followed by millions today, such as: 

  • Refrain from using foul language or bad words on New Year's Day or they will follow you throughout the year
  • Washing hair is not allowed because you will wash away your good luck for the year
  • Greeting friends with oranges or tangerines during the New Year will ensure that your friendships remain intact
  • No sweeping on New Year's Day as you'll sweep all your good luck out the door
  • Stepping into new shoes on New Year's morning to start your year off on the right foot (Katie's personal favorite)
  • Distribution of Red Envelopes (signifying Joy and Luck) filled with money to start the year with prosperity