Ring In The Lunar New Year Of The Rabbit With These Foods

The Year of the Water Rabbit — known for longevity, peace, and prosperity — is almost here! The Lunar New Year kicks off on January 22 this year and welcomes traditional festivities for those who celebrate, per History. The Lunar New Year has origins in the east and southeast Asian countries, centering around the agricultural calendar, which represents the time when farmers could take a break to visit their families. Today, the lunar calendar is based on zodiac signs which the Chinese portray with different animals (via Columbia University).

One of the biggest celebratory traditions in the Asian culture is greeting the Lunar New Year with traditional Chinese foods that are believed to increase wealth, luck, longevity, happiness, and family unity in the year ahead. A deep dive into some of these foods and the good things they supposedly bring to those who eat them will have you rushing to the grocery store to buy these ingredients and cooking up a Lunar New Year feast.

These foods can bring in more money and luck

One thing we could all use a little more of is money. While some foods represent values, others represent material gain and the idea of prosperity, perpetuating hopes of wealth and opulence. One such food that's believed to bring wealth when eaten on Lunar New Year, according to Special Broadcasting Services, is nian gao — a gelatinous rice cake dessert that is said to bring in more fortune for the year ahead. 

Another food believed to bring wealth and good fortune is fish which, Business Insider claims, is always served whole. Fish relates to wealth because "the Chinese pronunciation sounds similar to 'surplus' or 'abundance.'"

A final food you should eat to bring in more money in the coming year is cabbage. Not only is cabbage an important food staple in the Chinese culture, it's also valued for its symbolic relationship with wealth, because the Chinese word for cabbage, "bai cai," "is a pun for 100 wealth" (via Pearl River Mart). We all hope for a long life, and according to Asian tradition, one food that can help us achieve longevity by eating it on the Lunar New Year is Asian noodles — the longer the better (via CNN).

In the effort to live a long life, a little luck never hurts anyone. One such food that's said to bring good luck — especially when it comes to endeavors with money — is dumpling because it's shaped like "ancient Chinese money," according to Everest Himalayan Cuisine.

Food to achieve happiness and more time with family

The ability to smile and laugh more is often on our New Year's resolutions list, and one such food that is said to bring about happiness are candies like dried fruit, melon seeds, and nuts (via AsiaTown Cleveland).

A final value important among Asian cultures is family unity. After all, the Lunar New Year is all about spending time with your loved ones. One such food representing unity is the dessert tangyuan, which takes the form of a ball — holding all the ingredients together — just like a family should be, The Cougar reports. A must-have dessert for Lunar New Year celebrations, tangyuan balls are often boiled and served in sweet ginger soup, per Asian Inspirations.

With all these food choices and the good fortune they bring, deciding what food to prepare for Lunar New Year might be hard. Keep in mind, however, that meals are often served in multiple even-numbered courses in traditional Asian culture and could include as many as 10 courses, Business Insider explains. So you've have plenty of room on your menu to fill it up with all sorts of foods that can help bring you wealth, longevity, and luck in the coming year.