Need a year filled with luck and prosperity? Certain foods eaten during the Lunar New Year are considered lucky. Whether you desire prosperity, health, happiness, or new beginnings, these foods symbolize good things for the coming year.
Around the world, many layers of meaning and tradition are attached to these lucky foods. The most common lucky foods include egg rolls, citrus, noodles, fish, greens, and others.
The preparation and presentation of these foods can take on meaning as well. Fish and chicken are eaten whole, oranges and tangerines are served with leaf and stem attached, noodles are prepared without breaking them, and raisins are eaten, one every hour until midnight. Here are the top 10 lucky foods from around the world.
Whole Fish: In Germany, eating pickled herring ensures a year of bounty. In Asian countries, it is important to eat whole fish with head and tail attached to ensure a good year from start to finish.
Spring Rolls/Dumplings: These are made with minced pork and chopped cabbage, carrots, and other vegetables in China. It is said the more you eat, the more money you can make during the year ahead.
Honey: This sweet nectar is believed to bring good luck and wealth to you and your family.
Leafy Greens: The green color symbolizes paper money. Think kale, spinach, lettuce, and chard for the New Year. Even parsley is supposed to ward off evil for the coming year. In the southern US, the saying goes, “Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.”
Longevity Noodles: Since these long noodles should never be broken when cooking, they symbolize long life. Many varieties of pasta can be used to ensure good luck in life.
Sticky Rice Cakes: The main ingredients are sticky rice, sugar, chestnuts, Chinese dates, and lotus leaves. In Asia, rice cakes symbolize prosperity in all your endeavors.
Oranges, Pomelos, & Tangerines: These are the most common symbols of the Lunar New Year. Their golden color is believed to attract good fortune and success, while the round shape reminds us of coins. The shape also refers to the old year rolling into a fresh new one. Received with the stem and a leaf attached is even more auspicious. Loads of citrus can be found at J&J Ramos Farm in Hughson.
Broccoli and Cauliflower: For a blossoming year of wealth and prosperity, eat broccoli and cauliflower. It is a good start to eating healthy for the year, too. As with the greens above, these cruciferous veggies symbolize good fortune and money.
Whole Chicken: Presented whole like the whole fish, it means family togetherness, the “whole” family. Families will also offer chicken to deceased ancestors for blessings and protection.
Raisins: Tradition in Spain says 12 grapes or raisins eaten just before midnight, one at each chime of the clock, will bring good fortune for all 12 months of the year, if you finish all 12 before the final stroke.
There are many more food traditions and superstitions that purportedly bring good luck throughout the world. There is the ha’penny pudding in Great Britain, poutine in Canada, Cornish pasties in South Africa, black eyed peas and cornbread in the southern United States, ceviche in Ecuador, tamales in Mexico, pork in the Midwestern US and China, and so many others.
Come by a Farmers Market for your traditional lucky New Year foods. We wish you a prosperous and happy year ahead!