What To Have On Your Table To Increase Your Luck In The New Year
In the Philippines, Chinese New Year has become part of the festivities celebrated by people. Malls and hotels mark the occasion by including dragon dance activities and special-themed promotions for retail stores and restaurants. It is also common to see a lot of red decorations which include Chinese lanterns, red envelopes hanging on kiat-kiat fruit trees and posters bearing lucky characters since the color red is associated with wealth and good fortune.
Kiat- kiat trees, gold trinkets and red envelopes with lucky characters are often displayed in establishments such as hotels and malls since the mandarin orange fruit is a symbol for good fortune. (Photo by Tess Raymundo)
One of the main highlights during the Chinese New Year is the eve dinner. For families who follow traditions of the Chinese culture, Chinese New Year is a time for family reunion and the celebration is made special through the sharing of a sumptuous eve dinner.
A spread of delicious dishes that are deemed to bring more luck in the coming year are part of the table setting for the Chinese New Year eve dinner. It is good to place oriental or Chinese style dishes, tea pots and other tableware items on the tablescape. (Photo courtesy of Shangri-La Fort)
According to Jennifer Wang, Shangri-La Fort’s Canton Road restaurant manager who was born in the Northern part of China, celebrating Chinese New Year is a time for family gathering, having delicious dishes and following traditional practices that are deemed to bring luck in the new year. “For Chinese New Year eve dinner, the steamed fish is a must-have dish. The tradition of eating fish during the eve dinner originates from the fact that the word for 'surplus' or 'profit' sounds similar to the word fish in Chinese language. We believe that eating fish during the eve of Chinese New Year will bring wealth in the coming new year. Also, part of the tradition is to serve the fish to the eldest member of the family during the dinner," says Ms. Wang.
Steamed salmon head with homemade Hunan chili sauce and ramen noodles is part of the special dishes offered by Shangri-La Fort’s Canton Road restaurant for Chinese New Year. (Photo by Tess Raymundo)
Vegetable dishes, dumplings and glutinous rice dessert called nian gao or rice cake are also served during the eve dinner as these are considered to bring luck and prosperity. Nian gao has the same pronunciation as the word tall or high and it is believed that by having it during the eve then there is a wish to make every year become better than the last.
“In China, the making of dumplings is a family bonding activity. We also have a tradition of putting a coin in a random dumpling and the family member who eats the one with the coin will have great luck during the new year," adds Ms. Wang.
Pon choi dish which has a mix of vegetables and prawns is considered to be a lucky dish for Chinese New Year. (Photo form Shangri-La Fort)
Serving a whole chicken is also a must since chicken represents reunion and rebirth. Another dish that brings more luck is a dish called Yee Sang which is a Cantonese-style raw fish salad and is also known as Prosperity Toss Salad. The tradition is that all family members get to toss the dish in an upward manner so as to bring more luck in the coming year.
Yee Sang which is a Cantonese-style raw fish salad and is also known as Prosperity Toss Salad. Family members toss the dish in an upward manner so as to bring more luck in the coming year. (Photo from Shangri-La Fort)
To have a festive and themed atmosphere, a table setting using Chinese style ceramic plates, bowls, tea pots and tea cups add more flair to the tablescape. For the centerpiece, one may use a flower arrangement with a mix of red elements and gold trinkets such as gold coins or gold decorative pieces that are themed for the Chinese New Year. Adding mandarin oranges on the table with a quantity that ends in 8 is also a good idea as the fruit is a symbol of good fortune.
Placing quirky and cute edible items on the table like pig steamed buns are certainly apt for the Year of the Pig since it adds a fun vibe and will entice and amuse everyone.
Steamed pig buns with salted egg custard filling add a quirky and fun vibe to the table setting in welcoming the Year of the Pig. (Photo by Tess Raymundo)
Another common practice during Chinese New Year is the giving of money gifts in red envelopes by adults to the kids in their families. Apart from this, each family member also makes sure that their entire outfit is new during the eve celebration and red colored clothes is a popular choice too.
For families who prefer to have a hassle-free celebration, going to a restaurant where they can have their lucky dishes is a good option too since it gives them more time to catch up and talk to each other.
Shangri-La Fort offers special Chinese New Year menu at Canton Road restaurant. For inquiries, you may call Tel. # 820-0888.
Photos from @monica_0820 @balongbunga