15 Fun Facts and Feast-ivities for Chinese New Year: 2009
This entry was posted on January 8, 2009.
Fireworks explode against the night sky. Everyone wears red from head to toe. The house is thoroughly cleansed and old spirits released through open windows and doors. Families gather and honor the ancestors with a grand banquet. This year, Chinese New Year takes place on January 26, 2009.
To Chinese families, New Years (or Spring Festival) is much more than a time for renewal. It's a time to reunite with family, honor ancestors, and feast - not for nourishment, but for prosperity Since Chinese New Year typically lasts for 15 days, here are 15 fun facts and "feast-ivities" for the holiday.
Five Fun Chinese New Year Facts:
- Chinese New Years goes by the Lunar Calendar and changes every year
- 2009 is the year of the Ox. It is said that people born in the year of the Ox are dependable, trust worthy, and become painters, engineers, and architects. One can achieve prosperity during the year of the ox through fortitude and hard work. Ox years: 1901, 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009.
- No little black dress (it's unlucky), instead wear red! At Chinese New Years celebrations, people give out "lucky money," in red envelopes, wear red clothes, and write poems on red paper. Red symbolizes fire, which is said to ward off evil spirits.
- There's a lantern festival on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Lanterns are carried by the light of the full moon in evening parade. This is traditionally when the dragon dance takes place.
- On New Year's Eve, the Chinese clean their home from top to bottom. At the stroke of midnight, they open their windows and doors to release last year's stresses.
10 Auspicious Asian Foods:
- Stock up on chicken and fish. When served whole, it symbolizes happiness and prosperity.
- Noodles represent longevity, therefore they should never be cut. Eat noodles out of our longevity soup bowl; it has a traditional design and it's red. Don't forget the Asian noodles.
- Dishes made with oranges represent wealth and fortune because they're China's most abundant fruit. Use these mandarin oranges in your next recipe. May your fortunes be plentiful. And tasty.
- Raw tofu and bean curd are not served on Chinese New Year because white is the color of death and misfortune. And here we thought it was good for you.
- Duck signifies fidelity. Eggs symbolize fertility. Egg rolls symbolize wealth. A duck egg roll a day...well we aren't sure what will happen. But try this Chinese roasted duck mix. It's delicious.
- For Chinese New Year, serve jiaozi (dumplings boiled in water). Place coins in the center of the dumplings. Whoever bites into the dumpling with a coin will have an exceptionally lucky year. And possibly a chipped tooth.
- Dishes are chosen based on homonyms (words spelled the same or that sound the same as other words). This explains the popularity of turnips on New Years. "Cai tou" the word for turnip means "good omen." The word for bamboo shoots sounds like the phrase "wishing everything would be well." Yet another reason why you should eat your vegetables.
- Also an auspicious dish, rice cakes are a popular dessert during New Years. Their sweetness symbolizes a rich, prosperous life and the layers signify rising abundance. The round shape means a family reunion. If only the same could be said for chocolate brownies.
- On Chinese New Year's Eve, a reunion dinner is served. Members of the family, near and far get together for a celebration. A sumptuous banquet honors the ancestors. Traditionally, the family serves a whole fish with a head and tail in tact.
- Eat lychee nuts for close family ties. If you can't find any, there's always lychee hi chew and lychee chewy candy. Be sure to share with family members!
Asian Food Grocer wishes you a Happy Chinese New Year. Check out our Asian food recipes and learn how to make traditional Chinese dishes. For all your Asian groceries and Chinese New Year's supplies, shop Asian Food Grocer.