Although you'll see tofu (fresh bean curd) in some Chinese New Year recipes, serving white ingredients is usually considered bad luck during the 15-day celebration. White represents bad fortune and even death, although in other areas of Chinese life it can mean purity, too.
Color is often symbolic during this time, and foods that are red, orange, green or gold are considered particularly auspicious. This is one of the reasons tangerines, oranges, red melon seeds and pomegranates are popular food gifts. Their colors are believed to represent the following:
- White - bad luck, death, loss, mourning
- Red - happiness, purity, celebration, health, luck
- Orange - happiness, luck
- Gold or yellow - happiness, prosperity
- Green - luck, harmony