Lunar New Year is a festival celebrated all over China and by overseas Chinese communities around the world, as well as by many other Asian nations and their diaspora. This collection of recipes focuses on how many Chinese families celebrate. Lasting two weeks, the Lunar New Year marks the end of winter and the beginning of the lunar calendar and spring, which is why it is also widely called Spring Festival in China. In a country of 1.4 billion people, spanning 31 provinces, traditions vary from region to region, but one commonality is gathering with family and friends over the two-week period for many celebratory meals.
Some Chinese people adhere to a strict vegetarian diet on Day 1 of Lunar New Year, following a Buddhist tradition to not slaughter animals on the first day of the year. To symbolize the purification of the body and soul for the coming year, others may feast on mostly vegetarian meals. During the next 15 days, celebrants will eat many traditional foods and dishes that represent prosperity, longevity, happiness and many other good wishes for the year ahead. Every Chinese meal should have a protein, vegetable and starch, so feel free to mix and match these recipes. And always make sure to have at least one more dish than the number of people sitting at the table.