One of the most important holidays in Chinese culture, Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival was originally a time to honor the gods and ancestors, but has evolved into a celebration of family during the winter months.
This year, the Chinese New Year festivities will take place from February 19 through March 3, and we want to give you some background on the history of the holiday, some of the customary traditions and an Asian dinner menu for a New Year meal. We hope this inspires you to learn more about this holiday and have a fun Asian Night celebration with your family.
About the Chinese New Year
The celebration of the New Year traditionally begins on the first day of the lunar month and continues for two weeks, culminating when the moon is brightest. In China, most people will have time off work from New Year's Eve until the 6thday of the festival, though it's common for people to take additional time off to prepare for and celebrate the New Year. On New Year's Eve, families of several generations gather together for a special meal called Reunion Dinner. In Chinese culture, this is one of the most important events of the year for families.
According to the Chinese lunar calendar, 2015 will be the year of the goat.
One custom during the Chinese New Year is for people to dress and decorate with the color red to symbolize fire, which according to legend drives away bad luck. It is also customary for families, friends and neighbors to come together and celebrate the holiday, especially for the feast on New Year's Eve.
Families will also do a deep cleaning of their home in order to get rid of misfortune and make room for incoming good luck.
One of the most recognizable traditions of the Chinese New Year is the dragon dance, where a silk dragon is carried by dancers who guide it through the streets. In many cities across the United States, the dragon is part of a larger parade that also includes floats and marching bands.
A Menu for Good Luck
It's traditional to serve many symbolic or "lucky" foods during the New Year celebrations; a whole chicken represents family togetherness, noodles represent long life and spring rolls symbolize wealth. Keeping these traditional foods in mind, we've put together a delicious Asian dinner menu for your Chinese New Year celebration (or your next Asian Night):
Vegetarian Spring Rolls
A healthy appetizer full of delicious vegetables.
A flavorful noodle dish to welcome the New Year!
Tangerines and Oranges
These fruits are passed out during festivities as they're said to bring wealth and luck.
This sweet cake is made with sticky rice, which represents family cohesiveness. A yummy end to a delicious New Year's meal!
We hope this post helps you understand the traditions behind the Chinese New Year, and inspires you to create a fun Asian Night to celebrate!
Information for this post was gathered from http://www.infoplease.com/spot/chinesenewyear1.html and http://chinesefood.about.com/od/chinesenewyear/a/symbolicnewyear.htm.