Celebrate the Lunar New Year and Its Culinary Traditions

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The Lunar New Year starts on Sunday, February 10, and for those of us who didn’t grow up celebrating, it can be hard to know how to honor that holiday, which is full of food traditions. Kick off the two-week-long celebration with the wisdom and recipes of the bloggers below.

Matcha Shortbread Cookies
Image: Courtesy of U Try It

Andrea from Viet World Kitchen has us covered for Lunar New Year in both the savory and sweet sides of the holiday. She has tips for throwing a Lucky Dumpling Party and a Guide to Lucky Sweets, which ranges from such simple ideas as displaying fresh tangerines to going all out and making your own sweet-filled spring rolls.

Andrea also shares her lighthearted take on the astrological meaning of the Year of the Snake.

When it comes to Chinese astrological signs, I suck. While I know my own – I straddle the curious monkey and preening rooster who cooks well, I don’t take it all that seriously. Some people are dialing it in for the upcoming Year of the Black (or Water) Snake, which starts on February 10. By some accounts, it will be one of instability and extremities but will generate overall peace and prosperity. I feel like that is my life in the main.

Jaden from Steamy Kitchen has put together an infographic that delves into the superstitions about what to eat or not eat during the Lunar New Year. For example, if you’re planning to get pregnant, you might eat food with seeds to increase your fertility. To live a long life, eat noodles, which represents longevity.

In my house, I’ll probably keep it simple, by making the matcha shorbread cookies from Amy at U Try It. Though my family doesn’t have any Asian ancestors, I love the idea of honoring the elders of our family, as Amy explains.

Another tradition on the Chinese New Year is that the families are to visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended family, usually their parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents and so forth. Along with our visits, we always bring some delicious treats. Boy, our culture really value sharing food and treats with our loved ones! I created these Matcha Shortbread Cookies to celebrate this special time of the year.

Let us all welcome the Year of the Snake and meditate on the year to come.

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