The Chinese Lunar New Year table is that of plenty. It is loaded with symbolic foods that are meant to bring good luck and fortune to those households that serve them.
Much of Chinese traditions come from a play of words and symbols. Names of dishes and their ingredients which are served sound similar to words and phrases referring to wishes expressed during the Chinese New Year, while other foods hold a quaint symbolic meaning.
Here are some of the most unusual meanings behind these symbolic Chinese New Year vegetables & ingredients.
Beans, particularly soybeans, are very important in Chinese cuisine and Chinese culture. It is said that they stand for the fulfilment of wealth and happiness.
Eggplant is considered a lowly vegetable in many cultures, but it is not so in Chinese culture. The Chinese say it resembles a man wearing a hat. Sending or receiving an eggplant is an indication that one might be telling or learning that a promotion or an official post may be on the horizon.
Garlic is considered a lucky plant because, in legend and history, it has been used as an antidote to a number of deadly poisons. It also symbolises good luck and health.
Ginger has always been noted for its digestive properties. Indeed, it is said by many that Confucius would never eat a meal without it.
Ginseng is a tonic with amazing restorative powers. It is held in very high regard by many chefs. Second, only to tea, this root is the most highly prized of all plants. Some people call this root the elixir of life!
Melons are important foods with interesting symbolism. Many Chinese people say that it has the power to ward off demons.
Chinese folklore, which plays a very important role during the Chinese New Year, is rich with tales of mushrooms. People believed that mushrooms were agents of immortality.
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