China has ushered in the New Year, the Year of the Rabbit, with a many families making homemade dumplings, and gathering outside their homes for a traditional midnight fireworks ceremony. This is a time of great excitement, hope, and sometimes worry. With the 2010 Year of the Tiger bringing a mixed bag of blessings to the Chinese government, many wonder what the new year will hold. To encourage peace and prosperity for the coming year, many Chinese families adhere firmly to numerous traditions. Some are elaborate and official. The Chinese lantern festival, which takes place on the 15th day of the New Year, is a grand community event with thousands meeting in the streets to walk the street with candelight, in hopes of guiding wayward spirits home. Other traditions are more simple, quiet, and personal. They offer families throughout the world an opportunity to usher in a New Year with hopes for peace and prosperity.
If you’re looking to change your fortune from the unpredictable, ferocious Year of the Tiger, you’ll be glad to know the Year of the Rabbit brings with it the promise of a placid year with relaxed law an order where rules and regulations are not regularly reinforced. It is a year to enjoy, to be languid and leisurely, but not overindulgent. Money will be made without too much labor. Our life style will be languid and leisurely as we allow ourselves the luxuries we have always craved for. The year will be temperate with an unhurried pace. Chinese New Year predicitons foresee the year bringing a carefree and happy spirit for most, a year without too many annoyances.
To further ensure a prosperous Year of the Rabbit for yourself and your family, observance to these simple Chinese New Years menu traditions is also suggested.
Hold a reunion dinner with members of your family. On the Menu: Chicken and fish, eaten with the blessing “nián nián yǒu yú–”may there be fish every year.” Serving a whole chicken during the Chinese New Year season symbolizes family togetherness.
Noodles represent a long life; an old superstition says that it’s bad luck to cut them.
Clams and Spring Rolls symbolize wealth; clams because of their resemblance to bouillon, and Spring Rolls because their shape is similar to gold bars.
The Cantonese word for lettuce sounds like rising fortune, so it is very common to serve a lettuce wrap filled with other lucky food.
Tangerines and oranges are passed out freely during Chinese New Year, since the words for tangerine and orange sound like luck and wealth, respectively. Offer small red envelopes to your children during your reunion dinner. Fill the packets with money, to reflect good luck and honorability.
You’ll find some great Chinese New Year recipes on Babble!