Chinese New Year!
It's Chinese New Year on the 8th of February, and it's going to be the Year of the Monkey this time round. There are twelve different signs, each lasting a year rather than the month of the western horoscope. I was born a rat - not as bad as it sounds. Which sign are you? People born in the Year of the Monkey are intelligent, mischievous but can also be arrogant, apparently. Surprisingly, it is considered to be an unlucky year too.
Chinese New Year follows the lunar calendar, so is a moveable feast, falling around the same time each year. The Chinese celebrate with style: colourful processions, fireworks and delicious feasts. Festivities begin on New Year's Eve and end with the Lantern Festival, 15 days later.
In London, the main celebrations will be on Valentine's Day. Last year we stumbled across a parade with lion dancers and dragons along with a display of acrobatics and martial arts in Lancaster. You might find something similar in your area or decide to join in at home with some Chinese food. I will probably cook Chinese food at home then follow it with a film. I must confess that I have a soft spot for a bit of Jackie Chan or anything with kung-fu in it. Take a look on Amazon for some Chinese cinema greats. Shaolin Soccer is one of my favourites.
Chinese New Year Traditions
There is a large meal on New Year's Eve then the family might stay up all night to ward off the evil spirit 'year' - Shou Sui. Other customs include giving out red packets containing money, especially to children. Eating dumplings is a symbol of prosperity. Cleaning is also important - Chinese New year is also called the Spring Festival and elements of spring cleaning and re-decorating bring in the New Year with a fresh start. Red is used to ward off evil spirits, lanterns are hung and fireworks are let off at midnight to bring in the New Year.
Cooking up a Chinese Feast
Can you buy Chinese accessories where you live? You might want to take a look at these beautiful crockery sets and cookware. I particularly like using chop sticks and eating from beautiful Chinese bowls. Decorate your home with some Chinese-inspired cloth including table decorations, runners and lanterns. I'm afraid we can't ship fireworks for obvious reasons, or fresh food items. You might want to buy a steamer to make dumplings and other ingredients like pickles. Take a look at asiadragon for a flavour of China.
There are some gorgeous Chinese clothes too. On Etsy there are lovely baby clothes in Chinese fabrics and some very elegant silk dresses at Orchid or Oriental Fashion. I love clothes with mandarin collars. I'm painting a picture for you now, aren't I? In a red silk outfit eating dumplings with chopsticks, watching Jackie Chan...Happy New Year!
If you want to enjoy or celebrate Chinese New year, why not use our secure international delivery to bring some monkey business into your home?