Whole chicken is a popular dish during Chinese New Year because it represents togetherness and rebirth. It's symbolic of the family and can also signify unity and prosperity as a group. After all, chicken is a good source of protein and can feed even a large family when prepared carefully. To make sure that the symbolism is complete, it's a good idea to boil or steam the chicken with the head and feet still on to represent unity. Go the extra step and make a symbolic offering of chicken to your ancestors, too. You may not get any takers, but showing respect for the past and enthusiasm for the future is a big part of the holiday.
In Chinese tradition, melons and pomelos are also symbolic of family and are the embodiment of the hope that the family will remain large and whole. The pomelo, a citrus fruit that looks like a big pear and tastes a little like a sweet grapefruit, is also a symbol of abundance.