People believe that the new year should start with fresh and luck, which can last all year round. For example, people should appear clean because the appearance and attitude during New Years sets the tone for the rest of the year.
The lucky red in New Year
The color red is corresponding with fire, symbolizes good luck, fortune and joy in Chinese culture. In Chinese New Year, people wear red clothes, pastes spring couplets which with poem on red paper, and give children lucky money in red envelops. Another color that appears during the Chinese New Year is gold, which is a symbol of power. So if you visit an Asia supermarket during the Chinese New Year, dont be surprised with the abundance of red and gold decorations.
Oranges, pemelos and tangerines
From the second day of the New Year, people will visit friends and relatives with a bag of oranges and tangerines. They are symbols for abundant happiness. The word for tangerine have the same sounds as luck in Chinese, and the word for orange having the same sound as wealth. Pomelos are large pear-shaped grapefruits.
Tangerines with leaves intact assure that ones relationship with the other remains secure.
People shop for candies for starting the new year sweetly. Those candies are arranged in either a circle or octagon which called the tray of togetherness. After taking several pieces of candy from the tray, adults places a red envelope on the center compartment of the tray. Each item represents some kind of good fortune. For example, the candied melon symbolizes growth and good health; red melon seed are dyed red to symbolize joy, happiness, truth and sincerity; coconut means togetherness and peanuts present the wish of long life.
Foods on the celebration tables
On the Chinese New Year, vast amount of traditional foods are prepared for family and friends. Different from the feasts on festivals in US, each of the dishes served on the table has deep meanings and wishes for the coming year.
Buddhist New Years day have the vegetarian dish named JAI. It is a Buddhist tradition that no animal or fish should be killed on the first day of the lunar year. Vegetables are considered to be purifying, and many of the ingredients in this dish have their own special significance. For example, the bamboo shoot is a term which sounds like wishing that everything would be better and better. There must be a whole fish to represent togetherness and abundance and a chicken for prosperity.
In south China, there is a typical cake but is made in different way from cakes that we eat. It is called NIAN GAO, which is made from sweet steamed glutinous rice pudding. And ZONG ZI, which is glutinous rice wrapped up in reed leaves, is another popular delicacy. But in the north, steamed-wheat bread and small meat JIAOZI (dumplings) were the preferred food. But actually there is something different in south and north parts of China, but no matter what the differences are, the tremendous amount of food prepared at this time is meant to symbolized abundance and wealth for the household.
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