Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

How I Celebrate Chinese New Year

Sesame-Peanut NoodlesBecause I am both Chinese and American, Chinese New Year is important to me because it’s a great way to celebrate and honor my family’s cultural heritage and traditions.

Chinese New Year marks the Lunar New Year and it’s a time to start fresh with hopes for luck and happiness. Our celebrations involve fireworks and firecrackers to scare away evil spirits from the new year and we eat foods that are auspicious, such as moon cakes and desserts called "red turtles" because red is a lucky color and turtles are a symbol of a long, healthy life.

Here are some other foods my family eats for Chinese New Year:


It’s customary for guests to bring citrus fruits such as mandarins to their host or hostess. They’re a sweet symbol of good fortune and are eaten as dessert at the end of the celebratory meal.

Hot Pot

As social as it is traditional, hot pot is piping hot broth (usually kept hot over a camp stove at the table) that thinly-sliced raw meats and vegetables are dipped in to cook — think fondue-style. It’s a fun and delicious communal activity that results in a soup that constantly changes flavor as the night goes on. If you’re going to have a hot pot at your table this year, try making your own Homemade Vegetable Broth or Golden Chicken Broth.


I started making these with my mother at a pretty young age. She would prepare the filling and I would help seal the pork, scallion, ginger and mushroom mixture into the dumpling wrappers. Dumplings are like little treasures of flavor that are said to bring prosperity into the new year.

Here are recipes for Spicy Asian Dumpling Soup and Pork Dumplings with Dipping Sauce that may even rival my mother’s (don’t tell her I said that)!


Noodles represent longevity and are usually served alongside the hot pot. During my grandmother’s birthday celebrations, we would search for the longest noodle in our bowls and present them to my grandmother for her to eat. I have a really big family, so she always had plenty of noodles to eat! Try Asian Noodle Soup, Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup, Sesame-Peanut Noodles or Chinese-Style Longevity Noodles

My favorite part of Chinese New Year is watching a dragon dance or lion dance where a team of dancers gets into one big bright dragon or lion costume and dances to drums and clanging cymbals.

What’s your favorite way to celebrate Chinese New Year?

Leave a reply

To provide feedback or ask a question about our company, a store or a product, please visit our Customer Service page.

For more information about posting comments to our blog, please see our Comment Posting Guidelines.



Marisa Procopio says …

Hi Jennifer, I love Asian food, the spicier the better, and am looking forward to trying your recipe for Spicy Asian Dumpling soup. Thank you! mcproco.wordpress.com

marmaladesky says …

We celebrate with a big feasty vegan Chinese dinner, and we make our own fortune cookies! :)

lisa says …

Our favorite way to Celebrate CNY is to make gau (mochi rice, that is traditional and stands for family bonding) a few days before and on CNY, cook Chinese food such as beef broccoli funn(noodles), black bean chicken or seafood, etc. end the meal with a piece of gau for dessert. My kids enjoy getting the licee from their grandparents.

BOB CHENG says …

Visit relatives, chit-chat, have some tea and deserts, give children "Red Envelop With Money" for good luck.....

Anya says …

Thanks for the insight into Chinese Culture. I celebrate Chinese New Year and always look forward to hearing and reading about Chinese Culture and Lifestyle.

Amanda says …

Would I be able to substitute rice noodles for the angel hair in the Chinese style longevity noodles?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@AMANDA - I think that would totally work. Just look for a think rice noodle to resemble the shape of angel hair and you should be good to go!