Eat well and prosper in the Year of the Dragon
January 23rd, 2012
06:00 PM ET
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Gung hay fat choy! In case you're looking for last minute advice on how to welcome the Year of the Dragon, we've rounded up our Chinese New Year-related coverage for all your celebrating needs.

But first, a quick explainer from Chef Chris Yeo on the ancient food traditions associated with the Lunar New Year.

"Chinese New Year is a special time of year for many. 'Chi fan le mei you?' or 'Have you eaten yet?' is the most common greeting heard during the celebration of the Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese New Year throughout the West. Many of the traditions of Chinese New Year center around food either being cooked or eaten. To people who trace their roots back to China, the most important date in the lunar calendar is Chinese New Year – it’s a traditional time for feasting with family and friends that dates back thousands of years.

'Lucky' foods are served through the two weeks of the Chinese New Year celebration. The Chinese like playing with words and symbols so often homonyms, or words that share the same pronunciation but have different meanings, are used. Names of dishes and/or ingredients that are served usually sound similar to words and phrases referring to wishes expressed during the Chinese New Year. Almost every dish has a symbolic meaning or name that sounds like a Chinese characters for fortune, happiness, longevity and prosperity.

The offering of food serves to bring ancestors and other beings in the other world closer to oneself. The food offerings serve as a bonding tool to bring both worlds together. To ensure good luck throughout the year, the Chinese also give a special name to each dish. For example, a dish made up of five elements of the same kind (meat or vegetables) might be called 'the five blessings of the new year,' referring to longevity, riches, peace, wisdom and virtue."

More tastes of the Chinese New Year:

Five lucky foods for Chinese New Year

Sundays are for dim sum

Chinese dining 101: tap your tea and slurp noodles like it's your birthday

Make the most of your dim sum experience

Eddie Huang on Asian American identity

Beyond Gewürztraminer: Wine and Chinese food

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Filed under: Asian • Bite • Chinese • Chinese New Year • Cuisines • Holidays

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Xoxo

    i am a DRAGON!!!

    January 24, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  2. Spock

    I intend to.

    January 24, 2012 at 7:48 am |
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