A wonderful way for families to learn about other cultures is by celebrating significant holidays from around the world with food. Throughout the Chinese New Year celebration, different dishes are prepared with symbolic significance in mind: noodles for longevity, oranges for wealth, whole chicken for family togetherness and whole fish for prosperity. Another fun fact about noodles is that they are not to be cut because this is considered bad luck and represents a shortened life.
Today, I have an easy egg roll recipe, which symbolizes wealth because they look like gold bullion bars. Whether or not eating them makes you wealthier, they are fun to to prepare as a family. Although I’m not Chinese, my siblings and I used to make egg rolls with my mom when we were young. I look back at those times with much fondness. We would mix the ingredients together and assemble the rolls, then mom would fry them to a crispy golden brown. Making them was fun, but eating them was even better.
If you plan on celebrating Chinese New Year, don’t forget red envelopes, another common tradition during Chinese New Year. The gift of crisp bills are inserted into red envelopes and given to children. The red color symbolizes good luck and is believed to ward off evil spirits. The giving of red envelopes or cash is also a common tradition during New Year festivities in many other Asian cultures.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Chinese New Year, here are some links that may be of interest to you.
- PBS KIDS – Sagwa: Countdown to the New Year
- PBS KIDS – ZOOM: Moon Cakes Recipe
- Chinese New Year by Wikipedia
- Food Symbolism During Chinese New Year Celebrations
- Chinese Zodiac – 2011, Year of the Rabbit
Happy Chinese New Year!