Lunar New Year is around the corner… (Literally, it’s this Friday!)
There are so many things I love about celebrating Chinese New Year (aka Lunar New Year – for my fellow Asians: Koreans, Japanese, Vietnamese), like the traditions of ‘buying a new outfit‘, ‘getting a new hair cut’, ‘buying new shoes‘! I can’t recall all the traditions but the ones I do remember are my favorite. So… new hair cut it is…
As a kid – Chinese New Year (CNY) is a holiday for non-stop feasting & red envelopes filled with cash… well, can you blame me? I was told eating “candies” would bring good luck! I seriously went to town! (which I later regret – as it led to many dental visits, ughh…) and the more red envelopes you get, the fatter your piggy bank!!
My fondest memory of CNY was waking up to the smell of sweet “Lien Go” – a traditional dessert made with flour, brown sugar (tons of it!) and more sugar (no wonder Asians are so prone to diabetes – yikes!!). Tradition #1 – The whole family would gather for ‘Jo Fun’ – (traditional breakfast consists of all vegetarian dishes) and we would greet each other with “Gong Hay Fat Choy” to bring in good luck, health and wealth all in one saying. Tradition #2 – Then the traveling begins where we would all visit our relatives to do something call “Bi-Lien”. I believe this is to share the good luck and help circulate the happiness. We end the day with a family dinner… again, a vegetarian meal. Why vegetarian? Tradition #3 – on the day of CNY, it is for us to feast along with the Gods and pay respect to the living… so no killing of any kind.
CNY lasts for about 15 days but the most important days to celebrate are a) Chinese New Year’s eve b) Chinese New Year day (briefly mentioned above) and 3) Day after Chinese New Year
On CNY eve, all families will gather for “Tien Yue Fun” – it is a tradition for families to eat this meal together as it symbolizes ‘no matter how busy we are, we have gathered to eat together, if not everyday, let this day be the one day our family meets’.
Day after CNY, is what we call “Hoy Lien”, which means ‘now that the Gods have feasted, we have their blessings to truly enjoy the new year’. Ironic as it sounds, on CNY, we practice vegetarian however the day after, we go all out with the food!! 11 dishes consists of meats, lots of seafood and fish.