January 31st 2014 is the first day of the Chinese New Year.
This year is the year of the horse.
As expats, we have members on our team from all over the world living in various parts of the globe, Asia included.
During the month of February we are going to be featuring some of our sellers from China, Japan & Malaysia, who have helped compile this brief introduction to the Lunar/New Year Festival.
Chinese New Year is a time for a huge celebration which can last from just three or four days to 15 days, even as much as a month I have been told.
For traditional Chinese families there are many customs and superstitions. (Check out this link).
For everyone it is a time to be with family. In China most people go to the big cities to work and go home to their small villages for the New Year leaving the cities very quiet at this time. A lot of people find themselves stuck on overcrowded trains trying to get home for the eve of Chinese New Year.
As with all family reunions, eating is a major part of that.
Traditionally pork, chicken and fish are served... the fish should be served complete with head and tail intact to signify a good start and good luck throughout the entire year.
One member told me, "I guess the most dominant thing is Chinese dumplings. In Chinese they're called jiaozi, they put all kinds of different meat/veggies fillings inside. Wrap them in a soft dough and boil them for 10-15 mins. They strain them and when they eat them they dip them in Chinese vinegar with crushed garlic in them. I think that's one of the main festive dishes they eat. They make lots and lots of them. In northern China they eat them on Chinese New Year's Eve".
They are believed to bring prosperity.
There are many traditions and superstitions attached to the foods that are enjoyed at the festivities.
Here is a list of ten good luck foods.
As with most festivals and celebrations there are many decorations and fireworks
Red and gold and cherry blossoms dominate the decorations. Children are given red packets with money, there are red lanterns, ornaments, posters with good luck words, in fact anything red... red stands for good luck
Ralissa says, "Also apparently if someone is born in the year of the horse they are supposed to wear as much red throughout the year as possible".
Other Asian countries where there are large populations of Chinese celebrate at this time too in much the same way with perhaps slight differences from region to region.
Japan, although they acknowledge the lunar calendar and animal signs associated with it, these days celebrate the new year on January 1st. Japan also has its own celebrations (setsubun/Spring Festival) which takes precedence over the Chinese New Year.
Happy New Year Everyone!
Please come back and see our team members' shops we are featuring this month.
Handmade By Ralissa
Crafty Tokyo Mama
posted by Linda of Just One Look