Lunar New Year candy field: What those treats mean

(CNN) — It is a basic Lunar New Year scene: Household and mates huddled over a pink and gold candy field, unwrapping edible treats and shelling nuts.

Although lesser identified, these exquisitely embellished containers are as important part of the celebration as firecrackers and pink envelopes.

Yearly, households pull them out from the again of the cabinet earlier than the beginning of Lunar New Year, or Spring Competition, which lasts for 15 days from the primary day of the lunar calendar (February 16 in 2018).

It is a time of yr when kids are literally inspired to devour sweets — all within the hopes of experiencing an inflow of fortune within the yr to return.

Hosts have to verify every of the bins’ trays — there are normally three to 9 removable compartments — are stocked with particular “fortune” candies, which symbolize wealth, happiness and luck.

“Cyun hap (LNY candy bins) have a historical past that may be traced again for greater than 1,000 years,” says Gloria Chan, spokesperson for the Hong Kong Tradition Heritage Research and Promotion Affiliation.

“The normal phrase ‘cyun’ means ‘to place collectively, or to convey collectively.’

“By placing all of the fortune candies in a single place, a cyun hap symbolizes bringing luck collectively and wishing blessings for the approaching yr.”

It is essential to notice the phrase “candy” ought to be used loosely and may check with something from seeds to dried fruit.

This is a take a look at a few of the extra widespread candy field inclusions:

Roasted seeds: Sharing fortune

In relation to candy bins, roasted seeds take heart stage — or tray on this case — as consuming them symbolizes the buildup of fortune.

“We produce round 70 to 80 tons of seeds yearly — and normally 50 tons of them will likely be bought throughout Lunar New Year,” says Bao Yiu-wah, promotions supervisor at Shanghai Luk Kam Kee, Hong Kong’s hottest family-owned seeds store.

Shanghai Luk Kam Kee (5 Tai Ho Highway, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong) has been promoting seeds for greater than half a century. It now operates three retail shops specializing in seeds in addition to a seed-roasting manufacturing unit in Hong Kong.

Roasted seeds: In Cantonese tradition, the act of grabbing roasted seeds from a candy field symbolizes the buildup of fortune.

Maggie Wong/CNN

“A protracted-time buyer got here simply this morning to get 30 kilograms of seeds for mates and households who dwell in Singapore and Taiwan,” Bao tells CNN Journey.

“Our seeds are from fastidiously chosen farms. The melons are grown particularly for his or her seeds — not the flesh.”

The seeds will then be boiled — in numerous components from soy sauce to grounded espresso beans for various flavors — earlier than being fried until the seeds are crispy, dry and aromatic.

“Most of our prospects are over 60 now. Youthful generations come normally for his or her mother and father,” says Bao.

“It might be nice if the custom can final — nothing beats households chatting at a desk, shelling seeds whereas ready for a giant dinner.”

The important eight sweets

Different must-haves in a standard LNY field embody the “eight sweets,” which are literally candied vegetables and fruit — lotus roots, coconut strips, carrots, lotus seeds, coconut wedges, winter melons, kumquats and water chestnuts.

It is all about pronunciation, not style. Most of their Chinese language names sound just like a phrase in Mandarin or Cantonese with optimistic associations.

The Cantonese phrase for coconut, for instance, appears like grandfather and son.

It signifies a powerful household bond and a giant household.

Along with the eight sweets, pistachios (nicknamed “completely satisfied nuts” in Cantonese) and sesame balls (known as “laughing dates” in Cantonese) are widespread as a result of they appear like they’re cracking a smile.

Trendy variations

Packaged sweets have gotten extra widespread, too.

Western candies like Ferrero Rocher and Almond Roca are a giant hit throughout Spring Competition due to their golden wrappings.

“There are extra variations on candy bins in recent times — even New York model Girl M is making an attempt to mix in by introducing its personal LNY candy field in Hong Kong,” says Chan.

As an alternative of stocking conventional sweets, the trendy model from the New York cake store options delicacies like Champagne white chocolate truffles.

“I imagine these fashionable variations are extra enticing to the youthful generations and foreigners. It encourages those who do not know a lot concerning the traditions of cyun hap to grasp the meanings of Lunar New Year,” says Chan.

Take a look at the gallery on the prime of this characteristic to seek out out extra concerning the meanings behind a few of the conventional field candies.

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