Chinese New Year is a time for family members to gather around the table for some Chinese delicacies. It’s all about spending quality time with family and friends, feasting on food with symbolic meanings, gift giving and sharing good wishes. It is the most important holiday for Chinese people all over the world. Chinese New Year is also known as “The Spring Festival”. It is started on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month according to Chinese calendar. The festival lasts for about 23 days, ending on the 15th day of the first lunar month in the following year according to Chinese calendar. This year, Chinese New Year will be celebrated on Tuesday, 5 February 2019.
There are many traditions associated with the legends and history surrounding the spring festival. The spring festival was originally a ceremonial day to pray to Gods for harvest season. Many people start to clean their houses and decorate with red items, as red is the main color of the festival and this color is believed to be an auspicious color. Red color is very popular in China. According to the traditional legend, “Nian” a ferocious beast, a half bull with a lion head would come out to destroy the village. The villagers discovered that burning dry bamboo will produce an explosive sound to scare away the beast. This creature was afraid of these three things: fire, noise and red color. As time goes by, lighting firecrackers and fireworks has become a tradition on Chinese New Year to enhance the celebration and it is believed to scare away the evil spirits. Red color is also believed to bring a good fortune, symbol of energy and happiness. Red lanterns are usually hung outside the doors to ward off a bad luck. Mostly, the public decorations should be prepared a month before, while the home decoration is traditionally be done on Chinese New Year’s Eve. You may see every street, building, shopping center and public area will be beautifully decorated with red items. The most popular tradition to celebrate Chinese New Year is to hand out a red envelope filled with money. This red envelope always contains money according to Chinese tradition, usually be given to kids from their parents or grandparents as New Year gift. This red envelope is called “hongbao” in Mandarin. Wrapping money in red envelope is expected to share more happiness and blessings for the receivers. Each New Year is represented by a zodiac animal sign. As 2019 will be a year of the earth pig, all decorations related to pig will be commonly seen. You may also see various kinds of Chinese New Year’s symbols express different meanings. An image of a fish symbolizes “having more than one need every year”, the firecrackers symbolize “good luck in the upcoming year”, while the Chinese lanterns symbolize “pursuing the bright and beautiful”.
Chinese cuisine is the most important part on Chinese culture. Chinese cuisine is widely seen as representing one of the richest and most diverse culinary heritages in the world. Some Chinese believe that certain foods can bring luck and abundance, while its cultures are full of symbolism, especially when it comes to the Chinese New Year. They believe that everything we do can influence how lucky the start of the year will be.
Certain fruits are eaten during Chinese New year. According to the Chinese word for Mandarin “chéng” sounds the same as the Chinese for success. While the ways of writing tangerine contains the Chinese character for luck. Having mandarin oranges around the home during new year means bring fortune and riches into your life. If you visit Chinese Restaurant, supermarket or shopping center you might have noticed mandarin orange trees popping up around the entry way. This is a festive sign that the holidays are coming.
Fish is the traditional dish during New Year. In Chinese, fish or “yύ” sounds like surplus and symbolize of increase in prosperity. Fish can be cooked in various ways. What fish should be chosen for dining is based on auspicious.
Dumpling is widely popular in the world. Chinese dumpling is different with the Japanese. While the two look similar, they have different flavors, textures and cooking techniques. Originating in China, legend says that the more dumplings you eat during the celebrations, the more money you can make in the New Year as it symbolizes of wealth and treasure.
Spring rolls symbolize of “a ton of gold” which means a wish for prosperity, as fried spring rolls look like gold bars.
Glutinous Rice Cake. In Chinese, glutinous rice cake sounds like it means “getting higher year by year”. According to Chinese philosophy the higher you are, the more prosperous your business is, the more improvement you will reach in life.
Sweet Rice Balls. According to the Chinese pronunciation and round shape, rice ball symbolizes of reunion, family and togetherness
Noodles. Noodles symbolize a wish for longevity. Long noodles mean long life according to Chinese philosophy.