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Chinese Festival Food

There are many foods in Chinese culture associated with the Chinese festival. Chinese festivals reflect the diverse cultural heritage of its many ethnic groups. Food plays a very important part in any celebrations and what better way can one celebrate but by enjoying rich and colorful occasions with special tasty dishes. Although preferences vary from region to region, some examples include the following:

Chinese Festival FoodChinese Dumplings

Since the Spring Festival marks the first day of a brand new year, people in northern China typically will eat dumplingson New Year's Eve. This occurs because 'jiaozi' sounds like a word meaning 'bidding farewell to the old and ushering in the new.' in Chinese. The shape of Jiao Zi resembles that of ancient gold and silver ingots or a crescent moon, and symbolizes the hope for a year of plenty. Dumplings, are small or large mounds of dough that are usually dropped into a liquid mixture and cooked until done, some are stuffed with meat and/or vegetables. Some Chinese like to wrap a one-yuan, fifty-cent or ten-cent coin in some of the dumplings, as a token of good fortune for those who eat them. This is said to ensure good luck and prosperity in the New Year.

Chinese Niangao
 

In the southern of China, Chinese usually eat Niangaoto celebrate the New Year. Niangao. The Chinese word 粘, meaning "sticky", is identical in sound to 年, meaning "year", and the word 糕, meaning "cake" is identical in sound to 高, meaning "high". As such, eating niangao has the symbolism of raising oneself higher in each coming year (niánnián gāoshēng). It is a homophone for a word meaning a higher level of life. Nian Gao is a sweet, sticky, brown cake made from rice flour and sugar, a kind of glutinous white cake in the shape of rectangle. Often given as a gift, it is delicious when steamed, fried, fried with eggs or even eaten cold.

Chinese Yuanxiao

Many years ago, Chinese people have had the custom of dining on traditional fare highlighted by 'Yuanxiao' on the Lantern Festival which is also called Yuanxiao Festival in China. Yuanxiao is a kind of rice dumpling made of glutinous rice powder and wrapped with various fillings like bean paste, brown sugar and all kinds of fruits and nuts. We call these balls Yuan Xiao or Tang Yuan. Obviously, they get the name from the festival itself. Made of sticky rice flour filled with sweet stuffing and round in shape, it symbolizes family unity, completeness and happiness. People eat these on the last day of the Spring Festival, since they are also named 'tangyuan' or 'tuanyuan' among the Chinese folk, pronounced like 'tuanyuan'.

Chinese Zongzi

Many traditional Chinese foods are intended to honor either the gods or divine persons in history. Zong Zi - a glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves - is no exception. It is meant to honor Qu Yuan, the pioneer poet of ancient China. Zongzi is pyramid-shaped dumplings made of glutinous rice and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves, usually made into sweet with Chinese dates in northern China. However, it can be either sweet or savory and made from a great variety of ingredients besides glutinous rice, such as meat, shrimp, bean paste and nuts in southern China.

Moon Cakes

Eating moon cakes and watching the moon are the main activities on Mid-Autumn Day. Mooncake is the most popular and important food eaten during the Mid-autumn Festival. Moon cakes are usually round-shaped, representing family reunion and bright life. They are traditionally Chinese pastries which consist of a thin tender skin enveloping a sweet, dense filling. They are made with a sweet bean-paste filling, and a golden brown flaky skin, today, mooncakes with modern flavors such as ice cream mooncakes and chocolate mooncakes have appeared in recent years.Chinese Festival Food

Chongyang Cake

Chongyang Cake is a kind of traditional cake eaten on the Chongyang Festival. It is mainly made up of rice flour, pulse flour and decorated with jujube, chestnut and almond with baked and steamed sugar. Cakes sounds like height, so people regard it as luck. Climbing mountains is a popular custom in China on Chongyang Festival, The Chinese word for cake is Gao, a homonym of the Chinese word for high. Mountains are high, so eating cake can, by a stretch of the imagination, take the place of going for a climb.

Laba Porridge

Eating Laba Porridge also named 'Eight Porridge' is the focal point of the celebration on Laba Festival, The most important activity on this day is eating Laba porridge. Laba porridge is called babao (Eight Treasures) porridge for its high nutritional value. Chinese folk cook the porridge specially to offer sacrifices to the divinities and ancestors to pray for bountiful harvests and auspicious events in the coming year on the day. Originally, Laba porridge contains glutinous rice, red beans, millet, Chinese sorghum, peas, dried lotus seeds, red beans and other ingredients, such as dried dates, chestnut meat, walnut meat, almonds, peanuts, etc. Eight main ingredients are cooked with sugar to make the porridge tasty.