The food focus on Chinese New Year’s Eve is simple. Fish is the predominant menu item. Phonetically the word and the symbol for fish sound the same as the word ‘surplus’. Chinese people like to have a surplus at the end of the year, believing by saving at the end of the year they can be more successful and make more in the next year. The festivities of the Chinese New Year festival continue and New Year’s Day is a most important occasion. On this first day of the New Year it is time for the entire extended family to gather for a celebratory meal. Usually this happens with the Father’s side of the family first. It includes the Grandparents, Uncles and Aunties and all of the children. Young people visit the older generation and all (except those married) receive ‘Red Packet’ gifts from the adults. This is to symbolise blessings in health, study, happiness and good luck. The money for these ‘Red Packet’ purses and gifts is prepared on New Year’s Eve. On the second day the focus shifts to the Mother’s family. Essentially it’s more of the same only with maternal relatives.
The firecrackers continue and a traditional vegetarian meal is prepared. On New Year’s Day, ‘Red Packets’ are also given to employees from their employers, again symbolising prosperity and blessings for health, happiness and good luck. This is ‘Hoi Nin’, the opening of the year, and it signifies continuous celebrations! Often there is a decoration showing a fish jumping over the front door. This symbolizes the New Year and ‘going up a level’. It’s the ability to jump, to reach new heights.
Chives are often used as a garnish at New Year because phonetically the Chinese word for chives sounds like ‘long’ – a long life, in friendship, with family and business. Dumplings also are served and in special dishes these symbolise gold and silver.
The Tang Family of TANG The Asian food Emporium welcome you to visit and pick up traditional foods for Chinese New Year as well as decorations, red packets and cards at 185 russell Street, Melbourne. The Tang Family also wish all their patrons a very happy and prosperous New Year!