Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!

Today is the day to celebrate the Chinese New Year. This is the Year of the Ox, as shown on the photo of this New Year's card. One of our friends at work, shown in the photo below, hosted a Chinese New Year's celebration at her home on Saturday night. The food was superb. For drinks we had Asian Sparklers of pear, lychee and pomegranate. For food we had veggie spring rolls, szechuan shrimp, dim sum with crab and pork, vegetable chow mien, chicken lettuce wraps, barbecue pork, meatballs with coconut sauce, mango pudding and, of course, fortune cookies (even though fortune cookies were created in California between 1914 to 1918).
This is an important traditional celebration and it is actually called Lunar New Year. Those of us in the West tend to call it Chinese New Year. It is a time where people visit friends and family. The color red is used in decorations, including Chinese lanterns. New clothes are purchased and worn. Red packets or envelopes of money are given to kids and newly married couples, singles and the elderly.
What is the origin of Lunar New Year?  One tale is that the celebration started with a mythical beast called "Nian" or "Year." Nian apparently came to villages on the first day of the New Year and ate livestock, crops, and people, including kids.  If villagers put food at their front door on New Year's Day, supposedly Nian would eat the food and leave the villagers alone.  As the story goes, one time a child was wearing red and Nian got scared and ran away.  Thus, villagers put out red Chinese lanterns and other decorations to keep Nian away.  Villagers also used firecrackers to scare away the monster.

10 comments:

Sharon said...

The food sounds fabulous and I learned something about the "lunar" new year. Thanks for sharing.

JM said...

Very interesting post. The New Year's card is beautiful!

So, David is your husband! That's very nice! I like his blog very much as I have visited Costa Rica a couple of years ago and felt in love with the country.

I understand why you love Oaxaca so much, it's a wonderful place with so much to see! I still have a few sets of photos of the city to post on my travel blog.

And yes, I've been on both sides of the Iguazu/IguaƧu falls too! I managed to 'run away' from Buenos Aires to the falls the day after the city has been partially destroyed on the December 2001 revolution, completely empty pocketed as there was no money anywhere in the country and credit cards were accepted to pay just one third of whatever it was!... The most original Christmas of my life! :-)))

Ming the Merciless said...

Wow Julie! Sounded like you had a wonderful Chinese New Year dinner.

My friend and I went out for lunch on Saturday to celebrate the holiday.

Ming the Merciless said...

Interesting story on the origin of the color red. I've heard of the firecracker story but not the red colored attire story. :-)

Julie ScottsdaleDailyPhoto.com said...

JM: Buenos Aires in December 2001, OMG, what a time to be on vacation. Yes, that was a complete meltdown. Sounds like you had to use survivor skills. I am happy to say that Buenos Aires today is a wonderful place to travel to, and you in particular, would love the City as well as Perito Moreno Glacier and the Bariloche/Patagonia region. My stepson has lived in Buenos Aires now for about 4 or 5 years and he and we truly love it there. very European and livable city and great countryside. The Mendoza wine region is superb also. You will have to go back now that things are better.

Julie ScottsdaleDailyPhoto.com said...

Ming the Merciless: Happy Lunar New Year! I would bet New York had lots of great celebrations. I am glad you liked the information. An interesting tale and I always wonder what spawned new events and how the initial reason for the event changes over time.

MaCoBra said...

Happy New Year! That sign looks like the Jamiroqai sign by the way..

Hilda said...

That's a wonderful tale. This is the first time I've heard it and I really enjoyed it. Beautiful calligraphy on that card.

Great to meet you, Julie, and welcome! Mr. and Mrs. DPB — I like that ;D

nino said...

Happy Lunar New Year! Thanks for dropping by my Davao site.

I like the calligraphy on that card.

J.C. said...

Thanks for visiting my Subang Jaya Daily Blog and your comment!

I am glad that you also had the chance to join in the Chinese New Year celebration! Wow, I am impressed that you also shared some descriptions about this celebration! Hope you have a successful, peaceful, harmonious, prosperous Year of the Ox! :o)

Cheers,
JC

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