Friday, January 20, 2012

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year preparations are in full swing around here! Chinese New Year has always been a big celebration at our house!
This year Chinese New Year falls on January 23rd, 2012 that's this Monday! Which makes Sunday January 22nd  Chinese New Year's Eve. New Year's eve is when all the parting goes on.

We follow many of the traditional customs and superstitions (show me a holiday where you need to clean the house top to bottom and buy a new outfit, and I'm IN):
  • Decorate with Oranges! Big bowls of Oranges everywhere . . . specifically in the center of your home. Oranges and tangerines represent luck and wealth (two things we could all use a little more of). A lucky number to keep is 9! 
  • Buy and play with some Firecrackers or fireworks or both. It's believed to ward off evil spirits. 
  • Complete a thorough clean of the house . . . TOP to BOTTOM!! Start the New Year with a clean slate. When your done make sure to wash your cloths and dusters and empty the vacumm cleaner.
  • Make sure there is no laundry to be done.
  • Decorate Doors and Windows with RED (happiness) and Gold (wealth).
  • Make sure to settle all unfinished business so that you don't drag it into the new year. 
  • If possible clear off any debts! 
  • Make sure all projects around the house are finished and if you won't have time to finish it before New Years Day don't start it until 1 week after!
  • Lots of Fresh Flowers!!! Everywhere! 
  • Display bowls of Nuts and Candy! Fruit, nuts, food and sweets symbolize abundance! 
  • An orange tree is ideal to display in your home for Chinese New Year, but if you can't find one any new living plant would be beneficial. (display your new plant on the EAST side of your home)
  • Get a Hair Cut before New Years Day, cut away the old. 
  • Burn Candles and Keep your front porch lights on to attract good chi. 
  • Hang a gold bell in the Northwest corner of your home to bring helpful people into your life!
My Favorite part:
  • Buy a new outfit to wear, preferably in RED, but any bright color will do. Nothing Black!
  • If possible buy a new wallet, again preferably in RED, fill it with crisp NEW bills. If you don't buy a new wallet fill your existing wallet with Crisp New Bills anyway.

And Lee's favorite part:
  • Host a BIG feast on New Year's Eve. 
  • Shanghai Noodles to symbolize longevity (don't cut your noodles or you'll be cutting your life short). 
  • Steamed Halibut 
  • Chinese Egg Drop Corn Soup
  • Crispy Skin Chicken with ginger/scallion sauce.
  • Tea Eggs
  • Spring Rolls
  • Chinese Long Beans
What not to do on Chinese New Year:
  • No Swearing or getting angry. A bad mood is bad on New Year's Day. 
  • Don't say the number 4 in Chinese it sounds like death so people avoid saying it. Also don't serve or eat any food served in numbers of 4, for example instead of taking 4 dumplings take 3 or 5 instead!
  • Don't do any washing or cleaning on New Year's Day or you'll risk washing away all your good luck . . . Definitely NO sweeping. 
  • You're appearance on New Year's Day will set the Tone for the rest of the year. So Make your outfit a cute one! 
  • Never wear black on Chinese New Year!
  • Don't go to bed early on New Year's Eve. Stay up with family and pass the time playing games! After Midnight give red envelopes containing Money! 

  • On New Year's Day don't try not to use knives or scissors, you'll risk cutting through your good luck!
  • and Last on New Year's Day eat a vegetarian diet for the whole day . . . an attempt to counteract the excessive feasting from the night before!
We'll be adding our Red and Gold banners to the doors and windows this weekend as well as constructing and hanging our lanterns, check back this weekend for a Chinese New Year update!

"GUNG HAY FAT CHOY" everyone!!!

20 comments:

  1. This is an awesome post! Thank you so much for sharing it! My husband is Lao and his family always uses Lao New Year as a reason to celebrate. My hubby has gotten a little bit away from his culture, so I'm going to start researching stuff about it because I would love to keep these traditions alive, especially when we have kids!

    Happy New Year! :)

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  2. Wow, Chinese New Year is so much better than North American New Year where the "tradition" is to drink a lot and then make overzealous resolutions that last 2 weeks!

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  3. My family has always "celebrated" Chinese New Year (I am 1/4 Chinese) but it really only consists of making and eating Chinese food on CNY. Now with most of us kids grown, we still celebrate together but it is rarely ON the day. This year, we're doing it the Saturday after.

    This year I decided in addition to food, I'm going to provide craft supplies so the little girls can make paper chain dragons. I saw them on Pinterest--so adorable.

    One question: What recipe do you use for Chinese long beans? I have tried a few and they haven't been quite right for me yet.

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  4. I love this post. Thanks for sharing. I went to a lecture earlier in the week where the speaker was talking about how we have our calendars all messed up for seasons and that Dec 21 isn't the beginning of winter but the middle and that February is the beginning of spring and time to start fresh. Seems like the Chinese New Year is a lot more aligned with the earth!!

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  5. This was so interesting - thanks so much for sharing! I had never heard of many of the superstitions/traditions listed. Seems like it will be a very enjoyable celebration at your house. Happy New Year!

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  6. Can't wait to see how you decorated! Do you make your own lanterns or do you pick some up from a store? My daughter was eyeing the ones that Walmart had for sale but we didn't get any.

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  7. What fabulous traditions! I agree, sounds much better than our usual New Year of everyone drinking too much and feeling terrible the next day!

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  8. Thanks for this! I shall keep your post up so I know what to do ......... what day is Chinese New Year? I'm a Rat in their horoscope and it is true what they say about the rat personality. I know, you think gross but it's not and is pretty darn accurate to my personality. ~ Don't judge me :-) ~ What is your sign? Jay's a dog ...... ~ Don't judge him :-) ~ It's all about loyalty with him.

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  9. Suki,
    for our Long Beans I always just buy some premade black bean sauce and toss them with that and a little garlic. They always turn out great and are one of the first things to go!
    Monica-
    We buy our lanterns, they're so cheap it's almost not worth making them! This year I bought a couple from Walmart! for Under $3 it's worth it!! :)

    Lots of Love
    Ashli

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  10. Thanks a lot for this post. I don't come a Chinese heritage but I have been celebrating CNY for 12 years already, I feel the energy of the year truly changing with moon calendars :) Plus, I'm a Dragon in the horoscope and I love that :)
    In case you- or anyone else is interested- a dear friend from Argentina created really beautiful printables for Chinese New Year that she is giving away for free in her facebook page, because in some countries the original ones are not easy to find.You can find them here (I hope this doesn't send my comment directly into spam!) https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=340406269317248&set=a.211747678849775.57663.210790352278841&type=1&theater

    Gung Hay Fat Choy!

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  11. What a fantastic post Ashli!! I know absolutely nothing about Chinese New Year traditions, but I'm definitely going to attempt a few of the items you've shared. Today I'm going to hit Safeway and buy a box of oranges, some flowers and a new plant for the front window (east facing). I promise to dress nicely on Monday and I won't wear my obligatory black ;-) While I can't clean my house top to bottom, I'll be sure the main floor is clean, and I'll ask that Brian NOT work in the basement for one week. Can't promise he'll listen to me though! As for celebrating on Sunday night... well... we need an invitation!! (nudge-wink!) ;-)
    Gung Hay Fat Choy!!!
    Victoria

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  12. Wow...this sounds so fun (and delicious!!). Thats an awful lot of rules to follow...I'd have to carry a cheat sheet with me all night! :) I hope you enjoy your celebrations my friend...your home is, as always, beautiful and inspiring! Gung Hay Fat Choy!!! Cath

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  13. Happy New Year. Thanks for all the info about the Chinese New Year. So much there that I didn't know about. What a fun celebration. I hope you enjoyed the NYE. Oh, and I found your blog through Sonia's tag.

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  14. Happy Chinese New Year! Great tips for any time of year! Your blog always motivates me to clean/organize my house!

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  15. What an interesting post. I had no idea there was so much involved with celebrating the Chinese New Year. I do like the idea of starting off the new year fresh with a clean slate.

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  16. found your blog this past week while on Pinterest. Have loved reading all about you and your home. I've pinned several things. I was wondering though, why do you put the envelope opening at the front of your pillows? I put mine in the back and was just wondering if there was a reason for the way you do it that way? :)

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    Replies
    1. Nope, no reason at all. I just like the way the opening looks in the front.
      haha
      Sorry I wish I could give you a better answer!
      Lots of Love
      Ashli

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  17. What are tea eggs? Never heard of them. How are they made?

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    1. They are basically hardboiled eggs soaked in Tea so they have very subtle tea flavoring. It makes for really pretty eggs! Here's a link to a recipe for them:
      http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chinese-tea-leaf-eggs/
      Hope that helps
      Ashli

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  18. This sounds like a nice tradition. I think we may give it a try this year. I have what may be a stupid question if you eat at midnight on New Year's Eve and can't do any cleaning on New Year's Day, when do you clean up the feast? Also, I assume you prepare your food for New Years's Day the day before?

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