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Lunar New Year

February 7, 2018

Gung Hay Fat Choy
(Happy New Year)

The Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is determined by the Chinese calendar which is based on lunar and solar cycles. This calendar is periodically adjusted due to the shorter lunar cycle, making the Lunar Year a different day each year (falling between January 21st & Fabruary 20th).

An interesting part of the Chinese calendar is the 12 animals, each honored every 12 years. They are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar. It is said that people born in the year honoring a particular animal will be blessed with some of the characteristics of that animal. 

The Lunar New Year is a time for family gatherings and sharing traditional foods that represents health, wealth and happiness. Foods such as chicken and fish, noodles, bamboo shoots and others are served to celebrate the New Year.

BEFORE NEW YEARS: Homes should be cleaned before New Year's Day and all cleaning equipment put away to avoid sweeping away good fortune. All debts must also be repaid before the New Year. Homes should be decorated with plants, flowers, and red paper inscribed with happy wishes for the New Year. 

NEW YEAR’S EVE: A time for family and sharing with an abundance of traditional foods to usher in the New Year. It is also the time to celebrate and enjoy the Lion or Dragon troupe and fireworks to ring in the New Year and scare away bad spirits. 

NEW YEAR’S DAY: It is time to give red envelopes filled with lucky money to children and unmarried friends and relative. Also, for some, it is a day to eat a vegetarian dish called Jai, made with many of the vegetables that symbolize health, wealth and happiness. 

Foods for the New Year and what they represent:

  • Chicken: Served whole for prosperity and family togetherness
  • Fish: Served whole for togetherness and prosperity
  • Noodles: Served uncut for long life
  • Ginko Nut: Wealth
  • Black Moss Seaweed: Wealth
  • Dried Bean Curd: Happiness and wealth
  • Bamboo Shoots: Wishing everything will be well
  • Lettuce: Wealth
  • Mandarin Orange & Tangerines: Abundance, happiness and good luck
  • Candy Tray: Starting the New Year sweetly. Trays are a circle or octagon shape with eight varieties of dried sweet fruit.
  • Candied Melon: Growth and good wealth
  • Lychee Nut: Strong family relationships
  • Red Melon Seeds: (dyed red) Joy, happiness, truth and sincerity
  • Kumquat: Prosperity
  • Coconut: Togetherness
  • Peanuts: Long life
  • Seeds (lotus, watermelon, etc.): Many children
  • Pomelo: Abundance, prosperity, having children

Decorations for the New Year:

  • Live Blooming Plants: Rebirth and new growth
  • Flowers: Wealth and high position
  • Bamboo: Compatibility, utility and flexibility
  • Evergreen Pine: Longevity and steadiness
  • Fish Artwork: Togetherness and abundance 

If you celebrate the Lunar New Year, or are interested in celebrating for the first time, we offer traditional, as well as, many other items to make your holiday festivities special. 

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