Chinese/Lunar New year – Festivities and fun facts

Hello Friends,

Remember, I had mentioned about Chinese/Lunar New Year? I was going to make it a point to wish my classmates who celebrate this day. It was actually fun to reach out and make them feel special. I think it is the little things that matter to make everybody feel that we are all an integral part no matter what culture we belong to or how we look.

Over the past week I have been learning about the Chinese/Lunar New Year from my friends in school and neighbors. This year is the year of the Ox. It is a Chinese zodiac symbol for the year 2021. On the Chinese zodiac wheel there are 12 different animals. Each animal represents one year and then when all the symbols have been used it repeats. The last time there was an ox year was in 2009, the same year I was born.

I am so thankful to my classmates and neighbors who were more than happy to share their day with me. They were kind enough to share some pictures too for all of us to see.

Red lanterns
Photo Credit: Ashley

The decorations are an integral part of the festivities. Red lanterns are hung to keep away bad luck. They also make paper cuttings which is fun craft and for decoration it is usually pasted on the window. They are almost always red because the Color red is considered lucky.

Red Paper Cutting
Photo Credit : Ashley
Bright Red Envelopes
Photo Credit: Richell Chui-Yap

It is a tradition to gift bright red envelopes to kids, friends and family. These red envelopes are filled with money and symbolizes good wishes and luck for the New year. The importance of this tradition is not the cash held inside but it’s actually the envelope itself because Red color symbolizes good luck and prosperity.

Food shaped like oxen
Photo Credit: Richell Chui-Yap

On Chinese/Lunar New Year, families celebrate by eating lucky foods such as steamed fish, dumplings, spring rolls, tangyuan (those are sweet rice balls filled with sugar), nainguao (that is sticky rice cake).
As it is the year of the Ox , many foods are also prepared and shaped that way too.
How cool is that!!

 

 

Those sure do look yummy !!!

Food arranged on a plate to look like ox
Photo Credit: Angelica Tan

This is a salad dish…There is a tradition in which everyone gathers around to toss salad with chopsticks while shouting auspicious phrases like “Good luck or More blessings”… It is called a Prosperity Toss. That really sounds like a fun family gathering.

 

 

I also found out some other fun facts like:

  1. Noodles symbolize long life
  2. Chocolate coins are put in the center of some dishes for prosperity
  3. Oranges are traditionally eaten because round shape signifies wealth and prosperity
  4. Everybody wears special clothes mostly red with flowers on them
  5. Dragon dance is also a big part of the festivities

I loved learning about Chinese/Lunar New Year and everybody was more than happy to share their culture. I learned so many cool things and I wanted to share it all here so we learn as a team.

~Taneesh

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