Good Morning Everyone!
The month of February could not have gone by any quicker with events after events. Looking back, we had Valentines bringing us love in the air, to Family Day where quality time was spent, to today's start of Chinese New Years! Now many folks who do celebrate Chinese New Year technically started the festivities as of last night with a family dinner to ring in the year of the ram.
For those who don't know much about Chinese New Year or the start of the Lunar calendar, it's one of the most festive times of the year for majority of Asians worldwide. From lucky red pockets, to Chinese new year cake, to wearing red all over, and to showering before the clock strikes midnight on the eve; there are many traditions to be kept. For many, it is the excitement and community in the practice that brings families together, despite how silly or superstitious some traditions may be.
With exploration, and some understanding of the Asian culture, we decided to share the festivities for the coming 15 days to our readers to join or learn alongside with us! If you are interested, or intrigued to say the least- let's get ready to bring on March.
February 18th, Chinese New Years' Eve: The supper becomes the focal point, where one will make dumplings, as well as a dish with fish, iceberg lettuce, and one must eat chinese dessert called "tong yuen" which is metaphor for ones' family to be together in the "circle of life." One must also shower before midnight as one would be "washing away their prosperity" on the day of New Years. To top it off, one is encouraged to wear red underwear to bring luck into the new year, and for those who are parents, they must put a little lucky red pocket underneath their childrens' pillow to give them prosperity in their hopes and dreams.
February 19th- Chinese New Years Day: Calling or visiting all your family, friends, and extended relatives to share a wishing phrase for health, prosperity, romance, longevity, or future aspirations. One should also wear new clothes, or something that was just purchased so you are starting "fresh" for the year. For those who are married and considered an elder in the family, it is your honor and generosity to give out lucky red pockets to those younger and unmarried in the family. These lucky red pockets do not need to be filled with a lot of money, but more so the thought of passing along the prosperity to the next generation. In addition, for smaller cities or villages- one would be able to light up fire crackers during the day or night to scare away the ghosts and ghouls that are around. In several larger metropolitan cities; fireworks, parades, and dragon dances run the roads. This is also the day where one would eat the 'year cake.' Interestingly though, aside from the decadent cake which is quite dense and sweet ( it has dates in it!), the days' meals should be quite simple, consisting mostly of lentils, or vegetables in honor of mother nature and "not killing" animals in the start of the year. This is also a common practice in Buddhist culture.
February 20th Day 2- March 4th Day 14: From Day 2 onwards, one can have big feasts, and continue passing out lucky red pockets to those of the next generation, or to build relationships with friends. As of Day 2, the year has fully commenced!
March 5th Day 15: On the fifteenth day of celebration, there is a lantern festival where singletons light up a lantern and let it float up into the sky, in hopes of running into a potential romance to begin for the new year. It's like a second valentine's day!
Good news is, looks like Day 3-14 seem pretty low maintenance, so maybe we will be able to pick up a few traditions after all. ^_~
Wishing everyone a happy exploration or celebration in 2015!