This year Chinese New Year is on January the 26th, the year of the Ox. Chinese New Year also known as the Spring Festival is one of the oldest and most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese. It is a time for families for feast together and wish good fortune. It is likely that their is more food consumed during the New Years celebrations than at any other time of the year. The New Years Eve Banquet is an important part of the Spring Festival and often continues after midnight so that the good fortune may carry over to the new year
Traditional Chinese food is symbolic of wealth, health and propsperity. Each and every food, either by presentation or pronounciation, symbolises age old Chinese beliefs. Many of the dishes are served whole as slicing carries bad connotations, such as severing family ties. Whole fish: represents togetherness and abundance (the word fish sounds similar to the word plenty). Chicken: represents prosperity, it must hace its head, tail and feet to symbolise completeness. Uncut Noodles: represent a long life, Duck: fidelity and Egg: fertility. The word "turnip" (cai tou) also means good luck, turnip cake is given to friends and family. Tofu (bean curd) should be avoided during the New Years celebrations, as the white colour (ghost like) suggests misfortune and death.
During the New Years celebrations, it is the custom to offer guest treats from the "Tray of Forgiveness. The tray is circular or octangal with 8 sections (the number 8 symbolises good fortune) each one contains treats with their own meaning. It is thought to bring a sweet beginning to the New Year.
New Years Cake is sweet and sticky, Its glutinious quality represents the unity of the family. It is offered to the kitchen god who looks over the family home. He is believed to report to heaven about the famillies behaviour over the last year. It is hoped by giving him the cake that he will have only sweet things to say or that he will be full of cake to speak unfavourably.
Celebrate the year of the Ox with our exciting range of Chinese recipes.