Chinese New Year Facts
- Wear new clothes and ensure you are polite to others on the first day of the New Year – it sets the tone for the year to come.
- To bring good luck, place nine oranges in a bowl in your lounge room as oranges symbolize riches and are said to bring good financial luck for the coming year – and you can eat them afterwards!
- Decorate your home to welcome in the New Year. Red is a popular colour as it scares away evil spirits and bad fortune.
- Clean your house from top to bottom and pay off all debts before New Year.
- Place mandarins in bowls throughout the house. Mandarins with their leaves still intact are the fruits of happiness for the New Year. Keep their numbers even though, as uneven numbers bring unhappiness.
- Celebrate New Year with a family dinner. Traditional dishes include uncut noodles – a symbol of longevity – and fish and chicken, symbols of prosperity.
- The main difference between the Chinese and Vietnamese lunar calendars is that the Vietnamese replace the Ox, Rabbit and Sheep in the Chinese calendar with the Buffalo, Cat and Goat respectively.
- Refrain from uttering words relating to misfortune, such as ‘death’, ‘broken’, ‘killing’, ‘ghost’ and ‘illness’ during New Year as this may bring bad luck for the year to come.
- Make sure the barrel of rice is full at New Year to ensure prosperity in the year to come.
- Give younger members of the family red lai-see (‘lucky money’) envelopes to pass on prosperity
According to Hana Davis in the South China Morning Post “To avoid cursing the new year before it’s begun, do not say negative words, break ceramics or glass, clean, or use sharp objects. Do not gift people with clocks – the Chinese phrase that means “gifting clocks” is a homophone of paying one’s last respects. Splitting pears is similarly a homophone for separation. Scroll down for more.
Every year dumplings and long life noodles are always on the menu.
“The stuffed dumpling, humble as it may seem, is a dish with a fascinating history going back many centuries and interwoven into the cuisines of a number of countries.”
The art of stuffed noodles dates back to the days of Marco Polo and his family, who were Venetian travellers that journeyed toward Constantinople. However a war blocked their return, so they travelled eastward and reached the eastern capital Kaifeng, Shangdu in C.1266. This was the summer capital residence of the great emperor of China, Kublai Khan, grandson of Ghengis Khan. The Emperor became interested in stories of the native land of the merchants; thus, he sent the Polos back to the Pope as his ambassadors with messages of peace and interest in converting areas of China to Christianity. Read more history