Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year

(I started this post on Chinese New Year and am just now posting it, sorry for the out of date info! There's always next year!)

I work with a lovely Chinese couple who wanted to celebrate the new year with us so they brought lunch for the whole office on Wed. Isn't that sweet! I must admit I was a little confused to walk into the kitchen and find ham sanwiches and chips and salsa, although grateful, I thought "what does this have to do with Chinese New Year?"

Come to find out, thanks to the lovely contributors to wikipedia, it is tradition to eat "pigs, ducks, chicken and sweet delicacies." Although it made only a little more sense (I still don't get the chips and salsa), it peaked my interest, so course I had to read the rest of the article.

Some of my favorite traditions I would love to incorporate into our family traditions:

1.  I love the idea of  the family pitching to clean the house top to bottom "to sweep away any ill-fortune in hopes to make way for good incoming luck"

image source
2. Red Envelopes or red packets filled with various sums of money are given from married couples or the elderly to unmarried juniors. It is also common for adults or young couples to give red packets to children. Red packets are also known as 壓歲錢/压岁钱 or Ya Sui Qian, which translated means "the money used to suppress or put down the evil spirit"

image source: Hong Kong High

 3. Latern Festival inspired decor. The tradition had something to do with celebrating and cultivating positive relationships between people, families, nature and the higher beings that were believed to be responsible for bringing or returning the light each year. Usually takes place on the 15th day of the celebration
image source our suprising world

4. Of course eat Chinese Food (we like Asian Isle, do you have a favorite?) and try to stick with

image source asian isle

5. Firework Display
Bamboo stems filled with gunpowder that were burnt to create small explosions were once used in ancient China to drive away evil spirits. In modern times, this method has eventually evolved into the use of firecrackers during the festive season.

image courtesy of fakechineserubberplant

Ultimately, our Chinese friends compared Chinese New Year to our American Thanksgiving. A time when much of the city closes down and everyone migrates home to be with their family. I would love to incorporate more of these traditions into our family life. Sounds like so much fun.

P.S. As I am flower nut I also loved the list of flowers and their meanings according to Chinese tradition listed on Wikipedia.

Floral Decor

Plum Blossom

symbolizes luck


symbolizes prosperity


symbolizes prosperity


symbolizes longevity


a plant used for any time of year
means to have a good year

 a plant to heal all of your sickness
Chom Mon Plant
a plant which gives you tranquility


Nicole said...

I love this post! All these things are happening here right now (of course)! It sounds like you should make a visit during CNY next year. :) We'd love to have you!

Funny story: at Cody's work yesterday people were going around handing out the red envelopes (the envelopes are called hong baos in Mandarin and the money inside is Ya Sui Qian). A few of them came up to Cody's desk with a stack of hong baos, "Are you married?" After Cody told them yes, they just turn around and took the envelopes with them. Pretty funny.

As I start posting our CNY celebrations, I may have to post to your cute blog--do you mind?

Also, I have thought, if/when we move back to the States, I'd like to continue to celebrate CNY. I think you and I should come up with some fun parties together. :)

Nicole said...

*I meant link to your cute blog not post to it. Hahaha.