Happy New Year (round two)

I have always enjoyed the fact that Chinese New Year falls sometime around mid-January to early February, depending on the year (being based on the lunar calendar means the actual date changes every year). It means you get to have a happy new year a second time around, so if your resolutions haven’t been kept you can try again!

This year Chinese New Year falls on 25th of January. In China the mass exodus of people going home to their hometown has already begun with the two week long holiday more precious than Christmas here.

While celebrating the new lunar calendar is the obvious focus here, the main point for most people is the celebration of family and home. No matter where you are, a good meal is important, both as a symbolic gesture of good things (and meals) to come in the next twelve months and also from a nutritious point of view. Seafood, meat, vegetarian dishes, everything works.

This meal is about abundance without being ostentatious. It doesn’t have to be Chinese to be authentic Chinese New Year fare: think lobster linguine, scallops with spinach and broccoli, Japanese silken tofu with shiitake mushrooms and needle mushrooms. Plentiful does not have to mean heavy at mealtimes.

Decorate your home with satsumas (get those with the stalk and leaves still attached) as a sign of prosperity and eat them throughout the week. Red is the colour of good fortune so make sure to add a splash of red to your living space or better yet, wear it on the day. If black is usually your colour, then a pair of red socks will be a subtle addition.

There are many traditions the Chinese follow on the day but ultimately it all comes back to wishing others well and receiving well wishes from others graciously. It is all about the concept of paying it forward, or karma or very simply, kindness. For one day (and hopefully it reminds you for the rest of the year) the universal wish is to hope for a good future for everyone and to leave the stresses aside.


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