Chinese New Year celebrations begin on the second new moon after every winter solstice, and extend for a whopping 15 days, leading up to the Lantern Festival. Although China has officially recognized January 1 as the start of the new year since 1912, Chinese New Year — also called Spring Festival — is still the number-one social and economic holiday in the nation. It is observed by about one-sixth of the world’s population.
Traditionally, Chinese New Year has been a time to celebrate a fresh start by cleaning one’s house (to rid it of unlucky spirits), getting a new haircut or buying new clothes, settling a disagreement, and/or paying off a debt. In many ways, this is a similar idea to the notion of making New Year’s resolutions.
However, there is a huge emphasis on both food and luck in day-to-day Chinese life, and both of these play a huge role during the Spring Festival as well. Almost all of the dishes served are said to bring fortune in one way or another, and each involves a story or pun to support this reasoning. If you’re looking to start off your Chinese New Year with the best of luck, here are the foods you absolutely need to sink your chopsticks into.