In a few days, people of Chinese origin will be celebrating the Lunar New Year. This is the most important holiday for most Chinese. Many traditional foods are eaten during the 2 week holiday that symbolize wealth, prosperity, good fortune, longevity and hapiness. These Lunar Festival Walnut Cookies symbolize hapiness and have a lovely shortbread like texture.
The Lunar Festival is celebrated in many countries with Chinese descended populations. Even here in NYC, we have a Lunar Festival parade every year in Chinatown. In Malaysia and the Phillipines, it is one of the biggest festivals of the year. There are variations to these cookies that exist in these other countries, where peanut is more often used than walnut.
There are 12 Chinese zodiac symbols that are repeated every 12 years. This is the Year of the Rooster so just count back every 12 years to figure out if this is your year or not. In Chinese astrology, it is believed that you will have bad luck in your birth year because you are offending Tai Sui, the God of Age. This is why many of the foods made for Chinese New Year are meant to symbolize good luck to safeguard against the bad luck that is predicted. Since red is a color of good luck in Chinese culture, it is often recommended to wear red in your birth year to bring on good luck. Red socks, a red belt and red underwear especially is seen as very lucky. However, there is a caveat. Someone else must buy you the red underwear. You cannot buy it yourself. Otherwise, it wont ward off the predicted bad luck. You can also wear jade accessories to ward off the bad luck.
These walnut cookies are super fast and easy to put together, so you still have time to get them made before the New Year begins. Bring them to the office to share hapiness in the coming year with all of your co-workers.
For some other sweet treats to celebrate the Lunar New Year, try these other Chinese New Year specialties I’ve made:
Nian Gao – Coconut Sticky Rice Cake