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As in the west for Christmas, there are many foods and snacks which are associated with the Chinese New Year and are only eaten at this time. Many Chinese wait for the Chinese New Year Festival to enjoy these traditional holiday foods. Each region of China has its own special local foods. Every household in China, trays known as Trays of Togetherness are set out for the many family members and friends who visit. They are filled with sweets, seeds, rice cakes, dumplings, and fruit to give to visitors.

Niangao:

The literal English translation for Niangao is sticky cake. The word Niangao sounds identical to the Chinese words meaning year and high. Each person eats Niangao in the hope that each year will be better than the last. In traditional families, especially in the countryside, Niangao is offered to the Kitchen God. It is believed that he reports to heaven each year to report of the family and the reason that this sticky treat to him is that his teeth will be stuck together and he will not be able to report anything negative about the household.

Fagao:

The English translation for Fagao is Prosperity Cake. Made with wheat flour, water, sugar and yeast, Fagao is shaped into buns and steamed until it rises and splits at the top. The word "fa" means to rise, or be prosperous and by eating the cake it is hoped that the new year will be a prosperous one.

Jiaozi:

Traditional Chinese dumplings, Jiaozi are a mainstay of the Chinese diet in the north. It is during the Chinese New Year that they are most prized. The dumplings are stuffed with meat, vegetables, and sweet things and then boiled. The stuffing's are endless and each family has its own special blends. For the Chinese New Year, coins are traditionally hidden in a few dumplings, and the diner who is lucky enough to find one is supposed to have wealth in the upcoming year.

Steamed Fish:

The fish is a popular theme during the Chinese New Year and can be seen in decorations in many Chinese houses. The word for fish has the same pronunciation as the word for abundance, so steamed fish are an important part of every Chinese New Year dinner.

Noodles:

Uncut noodles are eaten during spring festival as a symbol of longevity. Uncut noodles are made by taking a ball of dough and stretching it repeatedly until it becomes a single noodle which can be many dozens of meters long. By eating this noodle it is hoped that each family member will be blessed with long life.

Baked Goods with Seeds:

Since seeds create new life and growth it is believed that eating baked goods with seeds on the top with give each member of the family a large household and prosperity in the new year.

Tangerines:

Found throughout each house, and many businesses in China, Tangerines represent wealth and good fortune. The Chinese word for Tangerine has the same sound as the Chinese word for luck, and so by eating them, each person will have luck in the upcoming year.

Oranges:

Oranges are arranged in dishes in every home for the Chinese New Year. The Chinese word for Orange has the same sound as the word for wealth. They are offered to visitors in the hope that they will have a wealthy new year.

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