Friday, 4 February 2011

Gong Xi Fa Cai | Happy Chinese New Year

So Chinese New Year started yesterday signaling the first day of spring. The holiday rolls on for a whole 15 days but for many this weekend is when all the festivities will be taking place.

Traditionally it's a time for spring cleaning - sweeping out the old and welcoming in the new. Decking the house with red and gold to attract joy and luck. A time of plenty, of cooking & feasting, with much of the dishes prepared during this period being symbolic and auspicious. Noodles are a sign of longevity - the longer the better. A whole fish is considered a sign of abundance and a whole chicken a sign of family unity. Jiaozi dumplings (similar to Japanese gyoza) are said to resemble old chinese coinage signifying good fortune while spring rolls are said to look like gold ingots. There are also oranges, lots and lots of oranges for giving and receiving - representing happiness and wealth.

But most importantly of course it's a time for family togetherness & reunion...oh and did I already mention the plentiful eating of food? Lots and lots of it!

So wherever you are whoever you are, whether you celebrate Chinese New Year or not - here's wishing you armfuls of tangerines (luck) and pocketfuls of ang pao (prosperity).

[Image: an old ang pao keepsake]

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