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New Year’s Eve Dinner 年夜饭

春节来临,背井离乡的游子,都纷纷赶回家,盼望与亲人团聚。这种心理,在我们民俗文化的底蕴深处,可说是根深蒂固,流传甚广,仿佛是打在每个人身上难以磨灭的烙印。

With the approach of the Spring Festival, Chinese people will go home for family unions no matter how far they are away from home. This tradition has deeply rooted in every Chinese’s heart and become a folk culture.

年夜饭又称团圆饭,是农历除夕(每年最后一天)的一餐。这一天人们准备除旧迎新,一家相聚,共进晚餐。一年一度的团圆饭表现出中华民族家庭成员的互敬互爱,这种互敬互爱使一家人之间的关系更为紧密。

New Year’s Eve dinner, also called family union dinner, is the dinner on the New Year’s Eve (the last day of the lunar year). On this day, families gather together to usher in the New Year. The tradition of family union dinner reflects mutual care and support for one another in Chinese families. Such bonds make family relationships closer.

除夕这一天对华人来说是极为重要的。这一天人们准备除旧迎新,吃团圆饭。一年一度的团圆饭充分表现出华族家庭成员的互敬互爱,这种互敬互爱使一家人之间的关系更为紧密。家人的团聚往往令一家之主在精神上得到安慰与满足,老人家眼看儿孙满堂,一家大小共叙天伦,这是何等的幸福。而年轻一辈,也正可以借此机会向父母的养育之恩表达感激之情。

New Year’s Eve is an important day for the Chinese. On that day, people prepare for family union dinner and usher in the New Year. The Chinese family values mutual respect and care, which forms strong family bonds. As heads of the family, elder people would be happy to see family members gathering together, while the younger generation will take this opportunity to express their gratitude to parents. What a lovely scene!

孩子们在玩耍放爆竹的时候,也正是主妇们在厨房里最忙碌的时刻,年菜都在前几天做好了,而年夜饭总要在年三十当天掌厨做出来。在北方,大年初一的饺子也要在三十晚上包出来。这时家家的砧板都在噔噔噔地忙着剁肉、切菜。此时,家家户户传出的砧板声,大街小巷传出的爆竹声,小店铺子传出的“劈劈啪啪”的算盘声和抑扬顿挫的报帐声,再夹杂着处处的说笑声,此起彼伏,洋洋盈耳,交织成除夕欢快的乐章。

When kids are setting off fireworks, housewives are busy in the kitchen. Foods are prepared in advance, while dishes must be cooked on the New Year’s Eve. In the north, dumplings for the New Year would be made on the New Year’s Eve. Chopping sounds are heard in every household. In the street, chopping sounds, firecrackers, abacus and accounting sounds, mixed with laughter compose a happy movement of New Year’s Eve.

吃年夜饭,是春节家家户户最热闹愉快的时候。大年夜,丰盛的年菜摆满一桌,合家团聚,围坐桌旁,共吃团圆饭,心头的充实感真是难以言喻。人们既是享受满桌的佳肴盛馔,也是享受那份快乐的气氛,桌上有大菜、冷盆、热炒、点心,一般少不了两样东西,一是火锅,一是鱼。火锅沸煮,热气腾腾,温馨撩人,说明红红火火;“鱼”和“余”谐音,是象征“吉庆有余”,也喻示“年年有余”。还有萝卜俗称菜头,祝愿有好彩头;龙虾、鲍鱼等煎炸食物,预祝家运兴旺如“烈火烹油”。最后多为一道甜食,祝福往后的日子甜甜蜜蜜。

Having New Year’s Eve dinner is the happiest and busiest time for each family. On the New Year’s Eve, family members have dinner around the table served with plentiful dishes, bringing a sense of fulfillment and contentment. People not only enjoy a full table of dishes, but also the happy ambiance. Although New Year’s Eve dinner dishes are varied, such as main courses, cold dishes, fried dishes and desserts, two dishes are indispensable, which are hot pot and fish. Steaming hot pot represents the prosperity. Fish is pronounced the same as Yu, representing abundance and luck. Carrot is popularly called Caitou, representing good luck. Fried shrimp and abalone, and other fried dishes represent prosperity and good luck. The last course is desserts, representing a sweet life.

年夜饭的名堂很多,南北各地不同,有饺子、馄饨、长面、元宵等,而且各有讲究。北方人过年习惯吃饺子,是取新旧交替“更岁交子”的意思。又因为白面饺子形状像银元宝,一盆盆端上桌象征着“新年大发财,元宝滚进来”之意。新年吃馄饨,是取其开初之意。传说世界生成以前是混沌状态,盘古开天辟地,才有了宇宙四方,长面,也叫长寿面。新年吃面,是预祝寿长百年。

The customs of New Year Eve’s dinners are varied around China. Traditional dishes include dumplings, wontons, longevity noodles and rice dumplings. In North China, people eat dumplings, marking the transition between the old and the new years. As the shape of dumplings likes ingots, eating dumplings means good fortune in the New Year. Eating wontons means a new start. It’s heard that there was nothing in the universe except a formless chaos in the beginning. After Pangu created the Earth and the Sky, the universe had square lands. Long noodle is also called longevity noodle. Eating noodles represents wishes for longevity.

在春节的日子能有几杯白酒,有几分浓浓的醇香,更能助兴。即便不能开怀畅饮,小酌几口就能暗自觉得沾了福气,便可畅怀。在春节,饭桌上人们举杯畅饮,在碰杯里充满了满满的情感,祈求多福多寿,这酒中寄寓的是人们对生活的美好愿望,对新春的祝福!

Chinese people also like drinking white wine in honor of the New Year. Although some people cannot have a hearty drink, they would feel lucky for taking a sip. In the Spring Festival, people toast for luck and longevity on the table. The custom of drinking wine expresses people’s good wishes for better life and blessings for the New Year.