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The Symbolism Behind Egg Rolls During The Lunar New Year

Plate of egg rolls
Plate of egg rolls - Lauripatterson / Getty Images

Lunar New Year is a 15-day celebration commemorating the end of winter and the arrival of spring. Its origins lie in China, though many cultures throughout Asia, like those in South Korea and Vietnam, partake in the celebration. This year, 2024, is the Year of the Dragon, which can signal good fortune and prosperity. Several practices are traditional for the Lunar New Year, including decorating windows with red paper and exchanging gifts, but the most delicious of these traditions is the New Year's food. For the celebratory feast, families come together to reconnect and enjoy traditional dishes like dumplings, steamed whole fish, and sticky rice balls.

One of the more symbolic foods that people enjoy during the Lunar New Year is egg rolls. Their golden-brown exterior resembles that of a gold bar, bringing about wealth and prosperity in the new year. Despite this opulent symbolism, egg rolls are fairly simple to make and quick to assemble. Chinese egg rolls are traditionally made with pork and veggies like cabbage that are stuffed inside a wrapper and deep-fried until crispy.

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Eating For Good Luck In The New Year

Lumpia with sauce
Lumpia with sauce - tyasindayanti / Shutterstock

Egg rolls aren't the only New Year's food people eat to attract wealth and prosperity. Steamed cakes known as fa gao are a traditional Lunar New Year food due to their symbolism of rising prosperity. Dumplings, whose shape mimics Chinese gold ingots, also symbolize wealth. Obviously, the more you eat, the more wealth you'll incur in the coming year. Even though egg rolls are symbolically important during the Lunar New Year celebrations, this is far from the only time you can enjoy the crunchy treat. Visit any Chinese-American restaurant and you'll almost certainly find a selection of egg rolls listed with the appetizers.

Variations on the egg roll include lumpia, which are Filipino. Some celebratory lumpia include shredded orange and yellow carrots, as both are said to symbolize wealth and good fortune. For those who want to omit meat, vegetable egg rolls can be stuffed with cabbage, glass noodles, mushrooms, or any veggie of choice. And while not traditional, sweet egg rolls, like cheesecake-stuffed egg rolls, are a fun way to end the meal.

Read the original article on Mashed.