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Lunar New Year candy field: What those treats mean

(CNN) — It’s a basic Lunar New Year scene: Family and associates huddled over a crimson and gold candy field, unwrapping edible treats and shelling nuts.

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

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

It’s a time of yr when youngsters are literally inspired to devour sweets — all within the hopes of experiencing an inflow of fortune within the yr to come back.

Hosts have to ensure every of the packing containers’ 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 boxes) have a history that can be traced back for more than 1,000 years,” says Gloria Chan, spokesperson for the Hong Kong Culture Heritage Studies and Promotion Association.

“The conventional phrase ‘cyun’ means ‘to place collectively, or to deliver 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’s necessary to notice the phrase “candy” needs to be used loosely and might check with something from seeds to dried fruit.

Here’s a have a look at a few of the extra frequent candy field inclusions:

Roasted seeds: Sharing fortune

When it involves candy packing containers, 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 Road, 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 facility 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

“An extended-time buyer got here simply this morning to get 30 kilograms of seeds for associates and households who dwell in Singapore and Taiwan,” Bao tells CNN Travel.

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

The seeds will then be boiled — in numerous substances 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. Younger generations come normally for his or her dad and mom,” says Bao.

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

The important eight sweets

Other must-haves in a conventional LNY field embrace 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’s all about pronunciation, not style. Most of their Chinese names sound just like a phrase in Mandarin or Cantonese with optimistic associations.

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

It signifies a powerful household bond and an enormous household.

In addition to the eight sweets, pistachios (nicknamed “completely happy nuts” in Cantonese) and sesame balls (referred to as “laughing dates” in Cantonese) are standard as a result of they appear to be they’re cracking a smile.

Modern variations

Packaged sweets have gotten extra frequent, too.

Western candies like Ferrero Rocher and Almond Roca are an enormous hit throughout Spring Festival due to their golden wrappings.

“There are extra variations on candy packing containers in recent times — even New York model Lady M is attempting to mix in by introducing its personal LNY candy field in Hong Kong,” says Chan.

Instead of stocking conventional sweets, the fashionable 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 in regards to the traditions of cyun hap to know the meanings of Lunar New Year,” says Chan.

Check out the gallery on the high of this characteristic to seek out out extra in regards to the meanings behind a few of the conventional field candies.

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