The Lunar New Year is a festival celebrated throughout China and by overseas Chinese communities around the world, as well as by many other Asian nations and their diaspora. This recipe collection focuses on how many Chinese families celebrate. The Lunar New Year lasts two weeks and marks the end of winter and the beginning of the lunar calendar and spring, which is why it is also widely referred to as the Spring Festival in China. In a country of 1.4 billion people spread across 31 provinces, traditions vary from region to region, but one thing they have in common is gathering together with family and friends for many celebratory meals over the fortnight.
Some Chinese follow a strict vegetarian diet on the first day of the Lunar New Year, following a Buddhist tradition of not slaughtering animals on the first day of the year. To symbolize the cleansing of body and soul for the coming year, others feast primarily on vegetarian dishes. During the next 15 days, the celebrants will eat many traditional foods and dishes that represent prosperity, longevity, good luck and many other good wishes for the coming year. Every Chinese dish should contain a protein, vegetable and starch, so feel free to mix and match these recipes. And always make sure you have at least one more dish than people are sitting at the table.