Man’s best friend is the star of the 2018 Chinese New Year celebration.
According to Chinese astrology, your year of birth and the animal it represents determine your personality traits. Those born in 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006 and 2018 are known as dogs. The dog is very loyal, smart, protective, energetic, and sometimes a bit on the serious side and very hard working. So get ready to be more doglike, but no biting allowed!
In China, “Chinese New Year” is known as “Lunar New Year” or “Spring Festival.” It usually falls between January 21st and February 20th, starting on a new moon. For 2018, it begins on February 16 and continues for 15 days. Traditionally, it is a time for families to gather, feast and honor assorted deities and ancestors. From villages to large cities, all over China there will be firework displays, bell ringing and the traditional lion dances on Main Street. Children will receive the traditional red envelope filled with “lucky” money. This tradition has quickly adapted to technology with the use of “red envelope apps” for the easy transfer of cash.
There are many symbolic foods to be eaten, with each dish steeped deep in tradition and meaning. It is believed that if you eat “lucky” foods throughout the Chinese New Year celebration you will reap the benefits of a long life and good health.
Fish – Eating fish during the Lunar New Year means an increase in prosperity. It is important to have some leftovers so prosperity will overflow into the next year. The preferred preparation is to steam the whole fish in ginger and light soy sauce. (For western tastes, a fillet of any fresh fish makes a good substitute.)
Dumplings are usually eaten at midnight. It is believed that the more dumplings you eat during the New Year’s Eve festivity, the more money you will make in the coming year. (A package of frozen dumplings from Costco will taste just as good.)
Long noodles uncut represent happiness and a long life. The cooked thin noodles can be served in a hot broth of chicken, and garnished with steamed vegetables.
Spring rolls are named after the Spring Festival and are served as an appetizer. Its golden color resembles gold bars, which symbolize wealth.
Lucky fruit, such as tangerines and oranges, are popular during the New Year. Tangerines represent wealth, and oranges provide good luck.
Happy Lunar New Year! Xin Nian Kuai Le (pronounced sheen nian kwai luh). For dog lovers, the 2018 Chinese New Year is extra special and promises to be a lucky year. Don’t forget to prepare a special meal for your dog and make a toast to a luck-filled lunar New Year. May prosperity, long life and good health fill your home!