Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year) 2023… the year of the Rabbit

The Lunar New Year marks the beginning of the traditional lunisolar and solar calendar, whose months are based on the cycles of the moon. Lunar New Year is traditionally a 15-day festival celebrated in Chinese cultures across the globe. The beginning of the new year typically aligns with the first new moon of the year, it celebrates the coming of spring in China and is a global symbol of hope, family, and unity.   

This year the lunisolar calendar celebrates the year of the rabbit, one of the 12 animals representing the Chinese Zodiac. The animals of the Chinese Zodiac recur on a 12-year cycle, with the last year of the rabbit celebrated in 2011. The origins of the Lunar New Year are ancient and shrouded in legend, with the celebration centred around the removal of the old, banishing negativity and welcoming the good and the new.

As with many traditions across the world, food is an incredibly important part of Lunar New Year celebrations. For example, it is believed that eating dumplings will bring prosperity and wealth in the coming year. Dumplings are traditionally eaten on the eve of the Lunar New Year and generally consist of minced meat, and vegetables wrapped in a soft dumpling dough. Different dumpling fillings are also said to have different meanings. It’s believed that the more dumplings you eat during the Lunar New Year, the more wealth you will gain.

Dumplings aren’t the only food that are said to bring luck and good fortune during the Lunar New Year, here are some other delicious foods that bring luck, goodwill and happiness:

Oranges & Tangerines - Eating and displaying oranges and tangerines are believed to bring good luck and fortune. The Chinese words for both fruits closely resemble the words for “luck” and “wealth”. The colour of the fruit also symbolises prosperity.

Noodles - The longer the noodle the better. It is considered bad luck to cut noodles during Lunar New Year celebrations. Noodles symbolise long life, so the longer the noodle the more auspicious. Longevity Noodles are longer than regular noodles and are traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day.

Whole Fish – Whole fish is often served steamed, poached, boiled, or braised. Fish is a symbol of the Chinese expression “May you always have more than you need.” When served whole it also symbolises a positive beginning and end of the year. The most esteemed part of the fish is the head, which is directed towards the most important guests at the dinner table when served.

Lunar New Year is a time of celebration, prosperity, and tradition. Use this as a time of reflection, to set goals and enjoy dining and celebrating with family and friends.

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