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Chinese New Year

The Year of the Rabbit.

Year of the Rabbit

2011 the Year of the Rabbit

The year of the Rabbit is almost upon in another Chinese New Year. This is a time for family reunions, firecrackers, mandarins and the all so famous Lion Dance. The streets seem almost deserted as all the families return home to spend time with loved ones and the more hardy take to a game of cards or mahjong.

The collecting or giving of ang pow is another custom where a red envelopes are given which symbolize good luck and wards off evil spirits.  Most of the envelopes  will add to a even number usually finishing with an eight as that is a lucky number. It’s a wide held belief that none shall be given with the number four as that pronunciation of the number four is the same as death.  Mostly in the South the envelopes will be given to the unmarried by the married. It is considered rude to open the envelope in front of the relatives.

ang pow

ang pow

The Chinese New year can be traced back to thousands of years whereas the legend which tells of a fearsome mythological creature known as Nian that is said to have once terrorised China, devouring people on the eve of Chinese New Year. To ward off the beast, red-paper couplets were pasted on doors, firecrackers were set off throughout the night, and huge fires were lit. All the best food is laid out on the eve of Chinese New Year which relatives have assembled including seafood and dumplings; delicacies include waxed duck, prawns, braised dried oysters, scallops and “prosperity vegetables”.

Thou Chinese New Year goes for 15 days and business remain closed, a break of sorts is imposed on the third day and visiting is usually discouraged, as it is believed that, otherwise, misfortune may befall the family. On the Seventh day of Chinese New Year the community partakes in a dish called yee sang, a simple mixture of thin slices of raw fish, shredded vegetables, herbs and sauces. The eighth day is a time for prayer and may well continue into the ninth day as well.

Myself, I will be looking forward to the food and treats and throw the diet out of the window for this special period. As per usual the blog will continue and the taste and goodness of Chinese New Year will be reported.  When Chinese New Year starts remember our tourist friends to say the words ” Kong Hee Fatt Choy ” As a tourist if you are invited please take along some mandarin oranges for the hosts as gifts. Happy Chinese New Year and have a great Holiday everyone.