Experiences - Asia

Spring Festival Food – Chinese Dumplings

Spring Festival Food or Family Reunion are terms that denote the time for delicious dumplings, fish, spring roll, New Year Cake, Hot Pot and much more. However, these are not foods associated with the New Year only, but also a symbol of Chinese culture. Every dish has its background deeply rooted in Chinese culture. Different kinds of food have different meanings, which express people’s good wishes for a new year. A very famous dish of the lot is Chinese dumplings.

Dumplings

Spring Festival Food - Chinese Dumplings

Image Courtesy: Andi Fisher used under the Creative Commons Licence

The Chinese boiled dumplings are traditionally served at a Chinese New Year dinner. They are filled with meat and are eaten to usher in wealth and good luck for the New Year. The dumplings can be traced back to South and North Dynasty. Dumplings were popularly eaten during the Spring Festival through the Ming and Qing Dynasty in North China. Jiao Zi sounds like a word meaning ‘bidding farewell to the old and ushering in the new.’ Therefore, dumplings are always made before midnight and eaten during the last hour of the old year and the first hour of the Lunar New Year.

Dumplings have two symbolic representations. The shape of the dumplings resemble the Chinese Tael, which is believed to bring in wealth and treasures the upcoming year. The second reason is that the dumplings have stuffing, in which people often add auspicious materials. In some places, people even put a clean coin into the dumplings, because they are of the opinion that the one who eats the coin will become wealthier. Nowadays, dumplings are the main food on New Year’s Eve and the first meal on the first and the fifth day after New Year’s.

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