On the seventh day of New Year my mama said to me
7. a whole chicken
One of the important traditions of CNY is to serve a whole chicken. It has to be whole and not halved or in pieces though of course one has to chop up the chicken before it is consumed. The chicken is also usually steamed, not roasted, to symbolise purity. The idea of a whole chicken — along with head and feet as well — symbolises family unity and togetherness. In family togetherness, no one is to be left out.
For more aesthetics reasons however, the head of the chicken is sometimes left out, as is its clawed feet. Chicken steamed with dark sauce tastes better than the white steamed one, so there are changes to this practice as well. The idea of serving a whole chicken to symbolise family togetherness is still practised by many families celebrating the new year. The fowl is also more easily obtainable than some of the more pricey new year foods and goes a lot further as a dish than the expensive food items.