How to Make a Chinese New Year Tray of Togetherness

Tray of Traditional Snacks and Candies
Getty Images/Fuse

During Chinese New Year, it is customary to invite family and friends over to celebrate. During the two week period, each home has a tray of togetherness or prosperity box, an octagonal or round platter with eight compartments filled with snacks, to share with visitors.

Each of the eight items in the tray of togetherness has symbolic meaning meant to insure a prosperous New Year. All items are meant to be eaten during the two-week Chinese New Year period.

The tray of togetherness can also be given as a hostess gift during Chinese New Year. Here’s how to make your own tray of togetherness.

Putting Together a Chinese New Year Tray

1. Take a large round platter and divide it into eight even sections or go to an Asian grocery store or party store and purchase an already sectioned tray. The eight compartment trays are often made of rosewood, porcelain, or plastic. Some have lids.

2. Place each snack item into its own section. The sweet and salty traditional snacks and their meanings are:

  • Candy melon: Growth and health
  • Fresh or dried coconut: Friendship and unity
  • Kumquat: Gold and prosperity
  • Longan: Many sons
  • Lotus seeds: Fertility
  • Lychee nuts: Strong family ties
  • Peanuts: Longevity
  • Red watermelon seeds: Joy, happiness, and truth

In addition to the tray, candies, chocolate coins, and mandarin oranges are served to guests or given as gifts during Chinese New Year.

3. Place the tray in a central location in the home, such as the living room or dining room, where guests can enjoy it. Replenish as necessary.