During the Lunar New Year, foods take on a special significance and symbolic meaning. Here’s a list of our favorite foods and what they symbolize for the New Year.

foods to help celebrate the lunar new year

The Lunar New Year comes traditions around family and food. During festivities, many foods take on a special meaning, symbolizing good fortune, health and other omens for the upcoming year. These Foods to Celebrate the Lunar New Year will help you celebrate and eat right!

What is the Lunar New Year?

The Lunar New Year is also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year and marks the beginning of a new year in the Chinese calendar. This important holiday in Chinese culture is traditionally a time to honor household and heavenly deities, ancestors, and bring the family together for a feast.

Families gather for a reunion dinner on New Year’s Eve and clean their house to “sweep away” bad fortune on New Year’s Day. The Spring Festival lasts 15 days and culminates in the Lantern Festival on the 15th day.

Chinese new year lanterns

When is the Lunar New Year celebrated?

The exact date of the Lunar New Year changes each year based on th lunisolar Chinese calendar. According to the Chinese calendar, the lunar month containing the winter solstice is actually the 11th month.

The Lunar New Year usually falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice, which usually takes place in late January or early February.

Each year is also marked by an animal or Zodiac sign. You’ll commonly see it as “The Year of the ___.” Check out our chart below to see when the Chinese New Year Falls for the next few years!

Upcoming Chinese New Years & Animals

YearLunar New Year DateZodiac Sign
2019February 5Pig
2020January 25Rat
2021February 12Ox
2022February 1Tiger
2023January 22Rabbit
lunar new year foods

Foods to Celebrate the Lunar New Year

During the Chinese New Year, foods take on a special significance and symbolic meaning. Here’s a list of favorite foods and what they symbolize for the New Year.

Citrus Fruits:

  • Kumquats: good fortune
  • Mandarins: wealth
  • Oranges: wealth, good fortune
  • Tangerines: luck, prosperity
  • Buddha’s Hand: happiness, longevity
  • Pummelos: abundance, prosperity


  • Coconuts: togetherness
  • Dried Apricots: wealth
  • Grapes: wealth, abundance, harmony
  • Jujube: wealth, prosperity, fertility
  • Longans: many good sons
  • Lychee: close family ties
  • Melon: family unity
  • Pineapple: wealth, luck
  • Pomegranates: many off­spring


  • Bamboo Shoots: wealth, new beginnings
  • Banana: success in education and work
  • Bean Sprouts: positivity
  • Bok Choy: prosperity
  • Garlic & Chives: long life
  • Lettuce: rising fortune
  • Onion: cleverness
  • Seaweed: luck, extreme wealth
  • Shiitake Mushrooms: seizing opportunity
  • Snow Peas: unity
  • Turnip: good omens


  • Noodles: long life
  • Egg Rolls: money, wealth
  • Wontons: togetherness
  • Red Walnuts: happiness of the entire family

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foods to celebrate the lunar new year and what they mean

Chinese Mandarin Pasta Salad

Chopped Chinese Chicken Salad