Written for Food&Home. Originally published on 22 January 2023.

Chinese New Year – also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival – falls on Sunday the 22nd of January this year and celebrations continue for 16 days until the Lantern Festival.

This year is the year of the Water Rabbit, and in Chinese culture the Rabbit symbolises longevity and peace making 2023 a year of hope.

Chinese New Year celebrates the start of a new year according to the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. Traditionally, Chinese New Year was a time to honour deities and ancestors, and today it is celebrated by visiting and feasting with family.

Other traditions include fireworks to scare away evil, hanging decorations like red lanterns, dragon dances for good luck, and giving red envelopes with money inside. Red is the key colour as it is believed to ward off evil spirits and symbolises prosperity.

With family reunion feasts and gifts of candies and fruits, food is a big part of Chinese New Year. There are 12 lucky foods that are most often enjoyed during the festivities due to their appearance and pronunciation – even the way they are prepared, served, and eaten hold meaning.

  1. Fish: A symbol of prosperity
  2. Chinese dumplings: A symbol of wealth
  3. Chicken: A symbol of luck
  4. Chinese New Year cake: A symbol of increased status
  5. Spring rolls: A symbol of wealth
  6. Sweet rice balls: A symbol of family togetherness
  7. Longevity noodles: A symbol of longevity
  8. Lion’s head meatballs: A symbol of family unity
  9. Steamed pork belly with taro: A symbol of prosperity
  10. Scrimp: A symbol of happiness
  11. Vegetables: A symbol of Spring and new beginnings
  12. Fruit: A symbol of wealth

We’re sharing a few of our best recipes to help inspire your menu.

Feature image: Unsplash