Friday, January 13, 2012

Year of the Dragon - Symbolism and Food

Circular candy tray (candy for sweet and circular for togetherness).
via Chinese Horoscope
Chinese Astrology is a Balance Theory of Five Elements. Each animal can be converted into Five Elements. Dragon contains Earth, Water and Wood. It's a source of Water and It is also called the Water Dam in Chinese astrology. Since Water of 2012 comes with Dragon. it implied Water from the sky makes a dam overflow. Therefore 2012 is a strong Water year.( We need that in Louisiana) 
Dragon is a legendary animal and it is symbol of emperor in China. Since the Dragon is coated with mysterious color, Chinese consider that the dragon is unpredictable, untouchable and people cannot see its head and tail at the same time. Therefore, we can might see something unexpected happening in 2012. Also a person with too many dragons in the Chinese astrology birth chart will become smarter, sly and unpredictable in the coming year.

North American Chinese New Year Favorite dishes. For recipes, click on the individual names.

Egg rolls or Spring rolls or Gold Bars (symbolize wealth)
Chinese Boiled Pork Dumplings (also symbolize wealth)
Pan Fried Shrimp & Pork Potstickers (wealth)
Fresh Pear and Shrimp Stir Fry (shrimp for happiness and joy)
Shrimp Fried Rice(shrimp for happiness and joy)
Hainanese Chicken Rice (serve your chicken whole & cut at table for Chinese New Year. Cooking a whole chicken or duck represents wholesome health)
Taiwanese Beef Noodles (noodles for longevity)
Chinese Lettuce Cups (lettuce = rising fortune)
Stir Fried Beef with Mango or Nectarine(nectarine = happiness, health)
Chinese Whole Steamed Fish (having more than enough for this coming year)
Chinese Tea Eggs (for prosperity)

Chinese New Year Superstitions
In addition to food…there are some traditions that are important to welcome in the new year.
  • Clean your house to rid of bad luck! But please make sure you do this BEFORE the first day of Chinese New Year.
  • Clear all debts for a new beginning. 
  • Wearing new clothes: Wearing new clothes on Chinese New Year is something I’ve done since I can remember! This symbolizes having more than enough for the new year. You want to try to look as fresh and new as possible. However, do NOT wash your hair on New Year’s day – it would mean washing away good luck! Wear bright red (happiness & joy) or gold (prosperity).
  • Must exchange 2 tangerines/oranges with visitors or when visiting someone during chinese new year for good luck and give all children red envelopes with money in them. Try to keep the dollar amount an even number – happiness comes in pairs! Odd numbers are are for funerals. Try to get crisp new bills from the bank. How much to give? It’s just a nice tradition and gesture, so you really don’t have to go crazy.
  • Serve a candy tray of sweets to all visitors –yon it you can place nuts, pastries, cookies, candy, chocolates.
  • Blooming Flowers ( also a great gift): Fill your house with beautiful blooming flowers and plants, especially plum blossoms and chrysanthemums (both symbolize prosperity), pussy willows, bamboo, pine (longevity), peony.  Flowers and plants represent new growth and a blossoming new year.
  • No harsh words, negative attitudes or fighting, kid or it will set the tone for the rest of the year!
  • Firecrackers: Are meant to scare off the bad spirits.
  • Color Red: Colorful bright vivid red scares off bad spirits and demons too! Red also symbolizes virtue, joy and happiness.
  • Dragon Dance: Ushers in the New Year bringing good luck.
  • Do not say the number “four” – which symbolizes death in Chinese

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