Chinese New Year: Food you’re supposed to eat

Main Piece:

The following has been transcribed from an interview between the informant and the interviewer.

“One dish that you’re supposed to eat during the lunar new year is anything with noodles like spaghetti…. Another thing that you eat is fish. So usually when you prepare it, it’s like an entire fish with like the bone still in it and everything. And when you eat you’re like not supposed to flip the fish over even though like, you know, once you eat the top part there’s a bone that’s kind of like, like the skeleton that’s preventing you from eating the bottom part. So, you’re not supposed to flip it because it’s like too much effort to get to it, to flip it. And they’re like not supposed to engage in hard work on Chinese New Year’s.


I collected this piece of folklore during an over the phone interview. My informant is a Chinese American who resides in California. Her family participate in this tradition every year.

My Thoughts:

My informant informed me that noodles are meant to symbolize longevity of life because noodles, like spaghetti, are long. So, eating the noodles is like a superstition to increase the longevity of life of whomever eats it. Also, since they are not supposed to flip a fish when you eat because it is like a symbol of hard work, and anything that you do during the day of Chinese New Year is meant to be like a reflection of the year to come. So, you don’t want to do any hard work on New Year’s Day so that your year would not be full of hard work.