In Australia, there are many Chinese migrants so every year we see Chinese New Year celebrated in full swing. It is a time when not only Chinese but all of the people in Australia enjoy Chinese delicacies and culture.
This year, Chinese New Year celebration started from yesterday and will go on until the mid of February. It is the year of the dragon. Dragons are most powerful and lucky signs in Chinese zodiac so this year is believed to bring great news to lots of people.
Many believe there is a balance between heaven and earth in the lives of people born in the Year of the Dragon and they are blessed with good fortune. Those who are born in this year are believed to be innovative, flexible, self-assured and passionate. However, there is also a dark side to Dragons which is that people can be stubborn, intense and quick tempered.
I read in the news somewhere that China is expecting more babies this year as it is one of the luckiest signs.
In Sydney, there will be lots of activates marking the new year, like street festivals featuring arts, entertainment and children’s activities, Chinese New Year markets showcasing arts, crafts and food stalls, dancing, music and people wearing colourful costumes to welcome the Chinese New Year, vibrant displays of Chinese lanterns, dragon dances, new lion dances, Chinese magic shows, Orchid New Music, bamboo dances, fire crackers display etc.
There are many traditions and customs associated with the festival, here are some of the commonly practiced that you might like to try :
- Wear new clothes on New Year’s Day (January 23 in 2012) and be on your best behaviour, as actions on this day set the tone for the year to follow.
- Enjoy a New Year banquet, keeping an empty seat to symbolise the presence of family members who can’t be there.
- Eat fish on the eve of Chinese New Year (January 22), and keep some stored for the next day. The Chinese phrase “may there be surpluses every year” sounds the same as “may there be fish every year”.
- Enjoy a bowl of traditional Korean duk gook, a soup of thinly sliced rice cakes, to represent a clean start to the New Year.
- Serve uncut noodles as they represent longevity.
- Wear red, as the colour scares away evil spirits and bad fortune.
- Give red lai-see (“lucky money”) envelopes to pass on prosperity and good luck.
- Clean your house and sweep out the bad luck of the previous year.
- Decorate your house with apricot and peach blossom, symbolic for new beginnings and sold during Vietnamese Tet.
- Say farewell to the Kitchen God, the guardian of the family hearth. As he reports to heaven on the behaviour of the family over the past year, make sure to feed him sweet foods and honey, either as a bribe, or to seal his mouth and prevent him from saying bad things.
- Pay off all debts and cast aside all grudges.
Check which Chinese zodiac you were born in:
- Rat (1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008)
- Ox (1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009)
- Tiger (1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010)
- Rabbit (1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011)
- Dragon (1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012)
- Snake (1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013)
- Horse (1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014)
- Sheep (1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015)
- Monkey (1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016)
- Rooster (1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017)
- Dog (1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018)
- Pig (1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019)
At work, we celebrate different things like Songkran (Thai New Year), Mexican Republic Day (There are no Mexicans in our team but still who can resist yummy tacos and burritos 🙂 ) and Greek Independence day. I guess we all just need another reason to celebrate and party so we are ready to celebrate Chinese New Year.
We all cooked one Chinese influenced food and we had lunch together. It is really amazing what people can come up with. We had fried rice, noodles, dumplings, wontons, spring roles and lots of sweets for desert. It was really yummy and different to try so many Chinese influenced dishes made by people from different cultures. We had only one colleague from China so it was interesting to know about real Chinese culture from her.
Happy Chinese New Year everyone!!! Hope the dragon will bring all of you lots of luck and happiness for the rest of your life!!!