Lunar New Year: Traditions, Facts, and Dishes


The Lunar New Year marks the start of the lunisolar calendar’s beginning and the coming of spring.  

During this celebration, some foods are consumed because of their symbolic significance. Throughout the 15-day festival, particularly during New Year’s Eve dinner, families would eat “lucky food”- dishes that are believed to bring good fortune for the upcoming year. 

These traditional meals have symbolic meanings associated with them based on how they sound or look. Not to mention, the way the food is prepared, served, and eaten is just as important as the dish itself.  

Dumplings, long noodles, spring rolls, fish, and Mandarin oranges are all some of the most popular delicacies during the Lunar New Year celebration. In this article, you’ll learn about five different common cuisines served at this celebration including the symbolism for each food. 


  1. Dumplings 

The preparation of dumplings, which is typically done on New Year’s Eve before being served at midnight, symbolizes family reunification. 

 Since the dumplings are shaped similarly to ancient Chinese currency, they also stand for prosperity and wealth. People claim that the more dumplings you consume around the celebration, the more you will earn the following year. 

Additionally, they will wrap a few dumplings with gold coins, and whoever receives the coined dumpling will have good fortune in the upcoming year.  

Dumplings are typically made of finely chopped vegetables and minced meat that are encased in a thinned out, elastic dough. Diced pork, shrimp, fish, chicken, and beef are all common meat fillings. Dumplings can be boiled, steamed, fried, or baked to prepare them. 

 Delicious “money bag” dumplings found on

  1. Long Noodles

As the name already implies, long noodles are a symbol of having a prolonged, happy life. According to tradition, no one can cut these noodles- they must be consumed whole and not to be broken before eaten. The longer the noodles stay intact, the longer your lifespan will be. 

These long noodles are either served with Bok choy in a simple broth that is mildly seasoned with soy and ginger or in oyster sauce with sliced mushrooms. 

Crab, lobster, or prawns can be used as a topping. Even cabbage and mushrooms can be prepared and used to supplement a condiment.  



  1. Spring Rolls

The Spring Festival, also known as the Lunar New Year, is the occasion for which spring rolls are customarily prepared, thus the name of the dish. The golden rolls are intended to represent gold bars and to bring fortune and prosperity in the upcoming year. 

The rolls get their golden like colour after the fillings are wrapped in the thin dough wrappers and deep fried. These wrappers are cooked after being stuffed with a mixture of pork, shrimp, beansprouts, and cabbage. 


  1. Fish

Eating fish represents wealth and prosperity in the upcoming year. The head of the fish should be facing the elders or other notable diners at the dinner table. 

The tail should never be removed while serving the fish, because it is said that leaving some fish on New Year’s Eve all the way through the next day will mean that you’ll always have enough affluence for the year around. 



  1. Mandarins 

Mandarins have always had a prized spot during Lunar New Year. This is because the Chinese word for mandarin, kam, has a similar sound to the word for gold. Mandarin oranges are therefore thought to bring wealth into your home at the New Year. 

During this celebration, Mandarins are usually widely displayed all around the house as decorative items and even exchanged as gifts. Regardless of the fact, there are several different types of oranges people use for this commemoration, but Mandarins have always been the main one to use.