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The largest, most festive celebration in China and in Chinese communities around the world is Chinese New Year. Also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, the two-week period is filled with family gatherings, parades with lion and dragon dances, fireworks, and of course, food. In 2024, the Chinese Year of the Dragon celebration begins February 10.

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Chinese New Year Foods

Traditional Chinese New Year foods carry connotations of success, prosperity, health, and luck, either because their names sound like those words, or their shapes represent those themes. In China, pork symbolizes prosperity, strength, and abundant blessings, so many pork dishes are part of the celebration.

Pork dumplings resemble ancient silver coins and symbolize wealth. Families gather to make dumplings on New Year’s Eve and then eat them at midnight in the hopes of a prosperous New Year. It’s said the more dumplings you eat, the wealthier you’ll be. Pork Dumpling Soup is a delicious way to welcome the New Year.

Spring rolls resemble gold bars and are also eaten in great numbers during the two weeks of New Year celebrations in the hopes of attracting wealth.

The word for “sour” in Cantonese sounds like the word for “grandchildren,” so Sweet and Sour Pork eaten by those who wish to expand their families. We especially enjoy this recipe because of its simplicity.

Lion’s Head Meatballs signify strength and family unity. You can use this meatball recipe and, instead of baking them, simmer them in a broth with bok choy and hoisin. Just be sure to double the size of the meatballs to show your success and prosperity.

In some parts of China, lettuce leaves wrapped around a meat filling signify rising fortunes in the New Year, but you can make them with any leafy green. This recipe for cabbage rolls is similar and equally delicious.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Ground Pork and Ginger

In addition, many dishes featuring whole fish, whole chickens, duck, and shrimp find their way to the celebrations, and of course, many varieties of rice dishes—sticky rice cake, sweet rice dumplings (tangyuan), and babao, or eight treasures rice—grace traditional tables throughout China.

On New Year’s Eve, everyone gathers at reunion dinners to honor their ancestors and enjoy the company of extended family. Food is at the center to bring happiness, health, and wealth in the New Year.

Some Chinese New Year facts

How is Chinese New Year different from Western New Year?

Chinese New Year is celebrated based on the Chinese solilunar calendar, and the date changes every year, unlike the West, which uses the solar Gregorian calendar. The celebration lasts for 16 days, from New Year’s Eve to the 15th day of the first lunar month of the year, which also heralds the beginning of Spring. In 2024, Chinese New Year begins on February 10 and ends with the Lantern Festival on February 24. Each year is influenced by one of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, and 2024 is the Year of the Dragon, which is especially auspicious, according to Chinese lore.

The Year of the Dragon holds great cultural and symbolic significance and is considered an opportune time for new beginnings, success, and positive developments. The dragon is a symbol of strength, power, and good fortune, and those born under its influence often possess leadership qualities, ambition, and a strong desire for success. It’s believed they will achieve great things in their endeavors.

Some famous dragons include actors Bruce Lee, Emma Stone, and Angourie Rice; musicians Adele, Rhianna, and Neil Diamond; Beatles John Lennon and Ringo Starr; and athletes Steph Curry, Bill Walton, and Chloe Kim.

As you celebrate the Year of the Dragon, all of us at Coleman wish you and everyone a 2024 filled with success, prosperity, and good health.

The Coleman Way, since 1875, is our commitment to quality, taking pride in humanely raising animals on family farms in the U.S.A. with no antibiotics ever, no growth hormones, and 100% vegetarian fed. The result is premium, great-tasting, all-natural meats in a variety of cuts and flavors that can be easily prepared and that you can feel good about serving to family and friends

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