Probably more food is consumed during the New Year celebrations than any other time of the year. Vast amounts of traditional food is prepared for family and friends, as well as those close to us who have died
On New Year's Day, the Chinese family will eat a vegetarian
dish called jai. Although the various ingredients in jai are
root vegetables or fibrous vegetables, many people attribute
various superstitious aspects to them
* Lotus seed - signify having many male offspring
* Ginkgo nut - represents silver ingots
* Black moss seaweed - is a homonym for exceeding in wealth
* Dried bean curd is another homonym for fulfillment of wealth
* Bamboo shoots - is a term which sounds like "wishing
that everything would be well"
* Fresh bean curd or tofu is not included as it is white and
unlucky for New Year as the color signifies death and misfortune.
Other foods include a whole fish, to represent togetherness and
abundance, and a chicken for prosperity. The chicken must be
presented with a head, tail and feet to symbolize completeness.
Noodles should be uncut, as they represent long life.
In south China, the favorite and most typical dishes were nian gao,
sweet steamed glutinous rice pudding and zong zi
(glutinous rice wrapped up in reed leaves), another popular delicacy.
In the north, steamed-wheat bread (man tou) and small meat
dumplings were the preferred food. The tremendous amount of food prepared at this time was meant to symbolize abundance and
wealth for the household.