The Colours and Food of Chinese New Year

By Kelly Jirsa

The Colours and Food of Chinese New Year
It's the Chinese Lunar New Year and we have all the celebration tips you need.

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Or “wishing you a prosperous new year”. Today we enter the year of the Dog, a year according to traditional Chinese astrology, associated with intelligence, hard work and bravery. If you are a dog, your lucky numbers are 3, 4 and 9; your lucky colours are green, purple and red; and your lucky flowers are roses and cymbidium orchids.

Famous “dogs” include:

  • Winston Churchill
  • Elvis Presley
  • George Bush Jnr
  • Madonna
  • Steven Spielberg

Celebrating the new lunar year – Colour

Colour holds great meaning in traditional Chinese culture. Red is said to be the colour of good fortune and joy. During this new year season red envelopes, usually filled with varying amounts of money, will be given to family members and friends to wish them good luck.

People will dress in predominately reds and yellows, red being a highly auspicious colour and yellow representing wealth and joy.

Celebrations outside the Sydney Opera House.


Celebrating the new lunar year – Food

The role of colour in traditional feasts is important too with cooks using ingredients such as orange segments, red chilli, fried tofu, spring rolls and sweet corn – all in orange and golden colours that symbolise wealth, gold and luck. Among other delicious and meaningful dishes families will also incorporate green dishes such as green vegetables, symbolising harmony and togetherness.

The attributes of food ingredients hold particular meaning and play a significant part in setting positive intentions for the year to come. People often celebrate the New Year with their family at large feasts, they will typically eat uncut noodles symbolising longevity, roast duck symbolising fertility, golden coloured egg rolls symbolising wealth, lychee denoting close family ties, prawns that stand for liveliness, water chestnuts for unity and walnuts that represent happiness for the family.

For those who celebrate the lunar new year, this time is one imbued with meaning and hope.



Print Recipe


Let us keep you up to date with our weekly MiNDFOOD e-newsletters which include the weekly menu plan, health and news updates or tempt your taste buds with the MiNDFOOD Daily Recipe. 

Member Login