This essay looks at the type of foods eaten during the Chinese New Year and the special meanings that they have among the Chinese people. According to my essay, the foods that find a place in the Chinese table during the New Year have changed over the years. Therefore, they show the changes in history that the Chinese society has gone through.
The culture of the Chinese is full of symbolisms and word play. This practice is very common in the foods eaten during the New Year. Usually, it is either that a set of food have words that share same pronunciation but different meanings or that the set of food has some symbolic meaning. For example, the seven-vegetable-soup has special meaning depending on the place of residence. This is often a mixture of seven different kinds of vegetables that have their names forming homonyms. That is why the vegetables may differ from place to place so long as the word pattern of their names is satisfied. This food must always be finished completely without serving any extra portions.
There is also the Year Cake. The Cantonese word for this type of cake bears significant symbolism in that it implies something that has a potential to grow bigger or taller with time. This has for a long time had the symbol of good hope for the people. Particularly, it had a meaning of hope for better jobs, better salaries and bigger families as people give birth to more kids. This is a typical of symbolic meaning. (Felipe,2002)
Another kind of food that is found on a Chinese New Year table is the Turnip pudding. This is actually one of my favorite meals. It is made by heating wok and then adding some little oil to it. To this, we often add minced pork and stir fry to a perfect blend. Other ingredients that must be added to make the turnip pudding are the dried scallops, black mushroom, shrimps, turnip shreds and seasoning before the heat is withdrawn from the mix. In addition, a long grain rice flour and corn flour must be added together with sesame sprinkle to give it a nice fragrance. This is always considered a symbol of good omen for the concerned people or society.
The Nine F cake also portrays the very deepest of the Chinese tradition. This a special kind of snack that fills the stomach quiet very fast. This has the traditional bearing of the number nine that has been historically associated with double. And so people would eat this food and get satisfied very fast as though they ate a double share. Although this is a very traditional type of food, it can still be found in Chinese restaurants today because of this traditional significance it has. Indeed, the people like to associate with abundance. (Jeniffer,1988):
The oil corn made in combination with peanut and sesame is also a very popular dish during the New Year. This often has a very nice taste in the mouth and a very elegant physical appearance. It is made by heating the corn oil until it turns yellow in color and then adding the other oils from sesame and peanut. This type of snack is believed to prepare the people for happy moments in the coming year.
However, it is the dumpling that has perhaps the greatest historical bearing during the New Year celebrations. This is a typical kind of cheap food that was used since time immemorial. During those early times, majority of the people were poor and therefore preferred this cheap food to be able to afford what could be served for the whole family. However, it has been maintained with time as it serves to remind the society about the tough journey they have had to take.