“When the mid-night bell rings tonight, Let it signify new and better things for you, Let it signify a realization of all things you wish for, Let it signify a year of courage and wisdom, Wishing you a very, very, very prosperous new year.” Chinese New Year Wish
Just when you though the holidays are done with, Chinese or Lunar New Year is nearly upon us. 2018 is the Year of the Dog.
In China, you’ll hear it being called chunjie (春节), the Spring Festival. It’s still wintry, but the holiday marks the end of the coldest of winter and people welcome spring and what it brings: planting and renewal, new beginnings and fresh starts.
This year, the Chinese New Year celebrations begin on Friday 16 February. The dates for Chinese New Year differ each year as it is based on the lunar calendar and normally falls between 21 January and 20 February.
TIMEOUT NY- The best things to do for Chinese New Year
The Chinese Zodiac runs on a cycle of 12 years, with each year denoting one of the 12 animals. The 12 animals are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
Dogs are the eleventh sign in the zodiac and are seen as independent, sincere, loyal and decisive who aren’t afraid of difficulties in life. Due to these characteristics they also enjoy harmonious relationships with those around them.
Men born in the Dog year are straightforward and genuine. They are energetic, though they’re more pessimistic inside. Very opinionated, they’re always ready to correct others and defend their stance. It’s not that they want to show off. They just feel it’s necessary to help others realize their mistakes. These men care deeply for their family. Their stubbornness fades in the face of their loved ones. They work to understand and compromise, resulting in a harmonious family life.
Women born in the Dog year are very cautious. They are indifferent towards people they don’t like, and don’t trust easily. But once they do, it’s permanent. They are intensely protective of their friends and family.
They are genial and independent. They love outdoor activities and being in nature. However, they are also hard workers and don’t give up until they succeed. Security and a stable income are her requirements for a career.
Lucky things for Dogs
Colors: green, red, purple Numbers: 3, 4, 9 Mineral: emerald Directions of auspiciousness: north, northwest Directions of wealth: southeast Directions of love: south
Colors: blue, brown
Here are 25 phrases of wealth and prosperity Chinese New Year greetings that you can use right away (Courtesy of FluentU Mandarin Chinese Language and Culture Blog)
1. 恭喜发财 (gōng xǐ fā cái)
“Wish you wealth and prosperity.”
2. 财源广进 (cái yuán guǎng jìn)
“May wealth flow in.”
3. 和气生财 (hé qì shēng cái)
“May harmony bring wealth.”
4. 金玉滿堂 (jīn yù mǎn táng)
“May your gold and jade fill the halls.”
5. 一本萬利 (yī běn wàn lì)
“Hope you put in a small investment and reap a huge profit.”
6. 招財進寶 (zhāo cái jìn bǎo)
“May you find wealth and treasures.”
7. 財源滾滾 (cái yuán gǔn gǔn)
“May wealth come pouring in.”
8. 大吉大利 (dà jí dà lì)
“May you have great luck and great profit.”
9. 年年有餘 (nián nián yǒu yú)
“May you have abundance every year.”
10. 事业发达 (shì yè fā dá）
“May your career to take off.”
11. 升官发财 (shēng guān fā cái)
“May you get promoted and receive a raise.”
12. 生意兴隆 (shēng yì xīng lóng)
“May your business flourish.”
13. 學業進步 (xué yè jìn bù)
“May your studies improve.”
14. 步步高升 (bù bù gāo shēng)
“May every step take you higher.”
15. 新年進步 (xīn nián jìn bù)
“May the New Year bring much better things.”
16. 心想事成 (xīn xiǎng shì chéng)
“May all your wishes come true.”
17. 万事如意 (wàn shì rú yì)
“May everything go well with you.”
18. 笑口常開 (xiào kǒu cháng kāi)
“May you smile often.”
19. 五福臨門 (wǔ fú lín mén)
“May the five blessings come to you.” (Longevity, wealth, health, virtue, and a natural death.)
20. 身体健康 (shēn tǐ jiàn kāng)
“Wish you good health.”
21. 竹報平安 (zhú bào píng ān)
“May you hear tidings of peace.”
22. 福壽雙全 (fú shòu shuāng quán)
“May you enjoy both longevity and blessing.”
23. 岁岁平安 (suì suì píng ān)
“May you have peace at every age.”
24. 和氣吉祥全家樂 (hé qì jí xiáng quán jiā lè)
“Wish you harmony and joy for the whole family.”
25. 四季平安過旺年 (sì jì píng ān guò wàng nián)
“Wish you four seasons of peace and a flourishing year.”
Chinese New Year is celebrated with the ringing of bells, the lighting of firecrackers and watching traditional lion dances. In China New Year’s Eve is seen as an important date, with families gathering together for a reunion dinner. Firecrackers are then lit off to signal the end of last year and the beginning of next. On New Year’s Day, families gather, clean their houses and sweep away bad-fortune.
Red envelopes stuffed with “lucky money” are given to children, along with written wishes for their kids to grow up healthy.
Special Dishes To Celebrate the New Year
Spring rolls 春卷 (chūn juǎn)
Eggrolls are probably the most well-known of Chinese cuisine. However, they’re actually “spring rolls”, eaten during the Spring Festival in Southern China to celebrate the coming of spring. They are served as a dinner dish, appetizer or snack. Spring roll skins are made of flour, water and some salt. The filling depends on your personal taste. Traditionally, the filling is made of pork, Chinese cabbage, shiitake, carrots and seasoning. For those with a sweet tooth, there are Shangainese style red bean paste spring rolls. Shrimp, chicken and lobster can also be used.
Dumplings 饺子 (jiǎo zi)
Another well-known dish, dumplings are the northern equivalent of spring rolls. They are eaten during every special occasion, but are the most significant during Chinese New Year. Typically, they include Chinese cabbage, green onion, pork and shrimp (similar to spring rolls). In the Suzhou province, egg fillings are a must. The dumpling symbolizes the silver ingot, while the egg is gold. Meat and bamboo strip filling is called 丝丝齐齐 (sī sī qí qí), which means that everything needed will be available.
Noodles 长面 (cháng miàn)
In some places, it’s custom to cook dumplings and noodles together. This is called gold silk and gold ingots. It’s yet another dish to express people’s wishes for prosperity.
Though the origin of noodles is heavily disputed, there’s no doubt that noodles are a staple in Chinese cuisine.
There are all types of noodles: long, short, dry, vegetarian, meat, and more. They can also be made of flour, rice or even green bean powder. In the beginning, they were called “soup pancakes” (汤饼—tang miàn). People would tear the dough into little pieces and throw them into the pot. It wasn’t until the Tang Dynasty when people began rolling them into the noodle shape we know today. For Chinese New Year, people like to eat long noodles. They are also called 长寿面 (cháng shòu miàn), which means “longevity noodles.” The longer the noodle, the longer your life will be. This calls for a lot of slurping. With noodles, there is great flexibility for sides and ingredients. Many vegetables and meats have symbolic meanings as well.
• Eggs: big and healthy family
• Lobster: endless money rolling in
• Shrimp: fortune and wealth
• Roasted pig: peace
• Duck: loyalty
• Peaches: longevity
• Tofu: happiness and fortune for the entire family
• Fish: surplus and wealth
Steamed Fish 蒸鱼 (zhēng yú)
Fish is a must for the Chinese New Year. Why does fish symbolize surplus and wealth? In Chinese, fish (鱼—yú) has the same pronunciation as 余, which means “surplus” or “extra.” The typical blessing is 年年有余 (Nián nián yǒuyú), wishing you to have a surplus (or fish) of food and money every year. People will steam a whole fish for the New Year Eve’s dinner.A whole fish also represents a harmonious and whole family.
The fish can be sea bass, a bigheaded carp, blackfish or striped bass. During dinner, the fish head should be placed facing the guests. In Hunan, red peppers are added after broiling the fish. Red is a festive and lucky color and the spicy hotness expresses wishes for fiery (thriving) business in the new year.
Steamed Chicken 蒸鸡 (zhēng jī)
A whole chicken is another symbol of family. Rich in protein, one chicken is enough to feed an entire family. It represents reunion and rebirth. To express this auspicious meaning, people keep the head and claws. After cooking, people will first offer the chicken to the ancestors. Though only a superstition now, praying to the ancestors for blessings and protection is still a significant part of the Spring Festival and Chinese culture.
In Hunan, the chicken is steamed and, when arranging, the head should be upright.
In Hubei, chicken soup is the first meal of the new year. It is a wish for peace. The main workers of the family should eat chicken feet, also called “phoenix claws” (凤爪—fèng zhuǎ). This is supposed to help them grasp onto wealth. Chicken wings help you fly higher, while the bones represent outstanding achievement.
For the first meal, some also cook eggs. The egg white and yolk represent gold and silver and are simple gifts for friends and neighbors.
Spring is the season to plant new seeds. Traditionally, the Spring Festival is the best time to finish all the vegetables stored and preserved from the winter. A dish of all sorts of vegetables put together can always be seen on the table during New Years. This dish can be called 田园素小炒 (tián yuán sù xiǎo chǎo), or countryside vegetarian stir-fry. Mushrooms, jujube and Chinese cabbage are often included, in addition to your typical greens.
Some symbolic vegetables to consider are:
• Seaweed: symbolize wealth and fortune
• Lotus seeds: a blessing for many children and a healthy family
• Bamboo shoots: represent longevity, as well as going onward and up
• Muskmelon and grapefruit: symbolize family and hope. In addition, grapefruit symbolizes wealth and prosperity
• Osmanthus flower petals: in Chinese, osmanthus (桂—guì) is a homophone 贵, which means noble and precious
• Leek/chives: leek (韭—jiǔ) sounds similar to 久, meaning long and everlasting
• Poria mushrooms: another play on words, this mushroom (茯苓—fú líng) sounds similar to 福禄 (fú lù), or blessings and fortune
Hot pot 火锅 (huǒ guō)
For many, the communal hot pot is the centerpiece of Spring Festival dinners. The bubbling soup in the pot gives off a warm and festive feeling.
Despite being loved by commoners and royalty alike, hot pots are actually quite basic. It’s simply a bubbling pot and plates of uncooked meat and vegetables. You can choose whatever you like to throw into the pot. Wait until it’s cooked, take it out and eat.
Part of the flavor comes from the broth you choose in the pot. The other part is your own dipping sauce. There are special hot pot sauces. You can also make your own using one raw egg, sesame paste, salt, sugar, cilantro and peppers. Hot pot is an extremely adaptable dish.
Mix, match and try different flavors. 五福臨門 (wǔ fú lín mén) “May the five blessings come to you.” (Longevity, wealth, health, virtue, and a natural death.) Happy New Year!