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CHINESE NEW YEAR

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Bianca
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« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2008, 05:13:08 pm »











                                                        New year cuisine
 




Reunion dinner



A reunion dinner is held on New Year's Eve where members of the family, near and far, get together for the celebration. The venue will usually be in or near the home of the most senior member of the family.

The New Year's Eve dinner is very sumptuous and traditionally includes chicken and fish.



In some areas, fish (simplified Chinese: 鱼; traditional Chinese: 魚; pinyin: y) is included, but not eaten completely (and the remainder is stored overnight), as the Chinese phrase "may there be surpluses every year" (traditional Chinese: 年年有餘; simplified Chinese: 年年有余; pinyin: nin nin yǒu y) sounds the same as "may there be fish every year."

In mainland China, many families will banter whilst watching the CCTV New Year's Gala in the hours before midnight.

Red packets for the immediate family are sometimes distributed during the reunion dinner. These packets often contain money in certain numbers that reflect good luck and honorability. Several foods are consumed to usher in wealth, happiness, and good fortune. Several of the Chinese food names are homophones for words that also mean good things.





Food items



Buddha's delight

(traditional Chinese: 羅漢齋; simplified Chinese: 罗汉斋; pinyin: luhn zhāi) An elaborate vegetarian dish served by Chinese families on the eve and the first day of the New Year. A type of black hair-like moss, pronounced "fat choy" in Cantonese, is also featured in the dish for its name, which sounds like "prosperity". Hakkas usually serve kiu nyuk (Chinese: 扣肉; pinyin: kuru) and ngiong tiu fu.



Fish Is usually eaten on the eve of Chinese New Year. The pronunciation of fish (魚y) makes it a homophone for "surpluses"(餘y).
 
Jau gok (Chinese: 油角) The main Chinese new year dumpling. It is believed to resemble ancient Chinese gold ingots (simplified Chinese: 金元宝; traditional Chinese: 金元寶; pinyin: jīn yun bǎo)





Jiaozi dumplings Eaten traditionally in northern China because the preparation is similar to packaging luck inside the dumpling, which is later eaten.

                             

Mandarin oranges Mandarin oranges are the most popular and most abundant fruit during Chinese New Year jin ju (Chinese: 金橘子; pinyin: jīn jzi) or kam (Chinese: 柑; pinyin: gum) in Cantonese.

Melon seed/Kwatji
(Chinese: 瓜子; pinyin: gwāzi) Other variations include sunflower and pumpkin seeds

Nian gao (Chinese: 年糕) Most popular in eastern China (Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai) because its pronunciation is a homophone for "a more prosperous year".

Noodles Families may serve uncut noodles, which represent longevity and long life, though this practice is not limited to the new year.



Sweets, Sweets and similar dried fruit goods are stored in a red or black Chinese candy box.



Taro cakes 

Tikoy Known as Chinese New Year pudding, tikoy is made up of glutinous rice flour, wheat starch, salt, water, and sugar. The colour of the sugar used determines the colour of the pudding (white or brown).
 
Turnip cakes
« Last Edit: January 25, 2008, 03:04:10 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2008, 05:17:39 pm »

             








                                             N E W   Y E A R   P R A C T I C E S





Red packets



Traditionally, Red envelopes or red packets (Cantonese: lai shi or lai see) (利是, 利市 or 利事); (Mandarin: 'hng bāo' (紅包); Hokkien: 'ang pow' (POJ: ng-pau); Hakka: 'fung bao'; are passed out during the Chinese New Year's celebrations, from married couples or the elderly to unmarried juniors.

It is common for adults to give red packets to children. Red packets are also known as 壓歲錢/压岁钱 (Ya Sui Qian, which was evolved from 壓祟錢/压祟钱, literally, the money used to suppress or put down the evil spirit ) during this period.

The red envelopes always contain money, usually varying from a couple of dollars to several hundred. The amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given during funerals (帛金 : Bai Jin). Since the number 4 is considered bad luck, because the word for four is a homophone for death, money in the red envelopes never adds up to $4. However, the number 8 is considered lucky (for its homophone for "wealth"), and $8 is commonly found in the red envelopes. Sometimes chocolate coins are found in the red packets.

Note: in this situation, odd and even numbers are determined by the first digit, rather than the last. Thirty and fifty, for example, are odd numbers, and are thus appropriate as funeral cash gifts. Having said that, it is also more common and quite acceptable to have cash gifts in a red packet using a single bank note e.g. ten or fifty yuan bills are being used frequently.

The act of requesting for red packets is normally called (Mandarin): 討紅包, 要利是. (Cantonese):逗利是.

A married person could not turn down such request as it means that this person would be "out of luck" in the new year (無利是)
« Last Edit: January 25, 2008, 02:54:55 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2008, 05:24:16 pm »



Shoppers at a New Year market in Chinatown,

Singapore






New Year markets
 


Markets are set up near the New Year especially for vendors to sell New Year-related products.

These usually open-air markets feature floral products, toys, clothing, for shoppers to buy gifts for new year visitations as well as decor for their homes.

The practice of shopping for the perfect plum tree is not dissimilar to the Western tradition of buying a
Christmas tree.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2008, 09:39:12 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2008, 05:31:03 pm »











Fireworks



Bamboo stems filled with gunpowder that were burnt to create small explosions were once used in ancient China to drive away evil spirits.

In modern times, this method has eventually evolved into the use of firecrackers during the festive season. Firecrackers are usually strung on a long fused string so it can be hung down. Each firecracker is rolled up in red papers, as red is auspicious, with gunpowders in its core.

Once ignited, the firecracker lets out a loud popping noise and as they are usually strung together by the hundreds, the firecrackers are known for its deafening explosions that it is thought to scare away evil spirits.

See also Myths above.

The lighting of firecrackers also signifies a joyous occasion and has become an integral aspect of Chinese New Year celebrations.





Firecracker ban



The use of firecrackers, although a traditional part of celebration, has over the years witnessed many unfortunate outcomes. There have been reported incidents every year of users of fireworks being blinded, losing body parts, or suffering other grievous injuries, especially during festive seasons. Hence, governments and authorities eventually enacted laws completely banning the use of firecrackers privately, primarily because of safety issues.

Mainland China -
Firecrackers are banned in many urban areas, although Beijing lifted a decade-old ban in 2007, and the rules are not always enforced. In rural areas, they remain very popular, and streets are often carpeted red by the remnants of firecrackers.

Hong Kong -
Fireworks are banned for security reasonssome speculate a connection between firework use and the 1967 Leftist Riot. The colonial government before 1997 and the SAR government after 1997, however, do put on a fireworks display in Victoria Harbour on the second day of the Chinese New Year. Similar displays are also held in many other cities in and outside China.

Singapore -
a partial ban on firecrackers was imposed in March 1970 after a fire killed six people and injured 68.  This was extended to a total ban in August 1972, after an explosion that killed two people and an attack on two police officers attempting to stop a group from letting off firecrackers in February 1972.[However, in 2003, the government allowed firecrackers to be set off during the festive season. At the Chinese New Year light-up in Chinatown, at the stroke of midnight on the first day of the Lunar New Year, firecrackers are set off under controlled conditions by the Singapore Tourism Board. Other occasions where firecrackers are allowed to be set off are determined by the tourism board or other government organizations. However, they are not allowed to be commercially sold.

Malaysia -
firecrackers were banned for the same reason as Singapore. However, many Malaysians managed to smuggle them from Thailand to meet their private needs.

Indonesia -
Firecrackers and fireworks were forbidden to be performed in public during the Chinese New Year, especially in areas with significant non-Chinese population in order to avoid any conflict between the two. However, there were some exceptions. The usage of firecrackers were legal in some metropolitan areas such as Jakarta and Medan, where the degree of racial and cultural tolerance was considerably high.

United States -
For 2007, New York City lifted its decade-old ban on firecrackers, allowing a display of 300,000 firecrackers to be set off in Chinatown's Chatham Square.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2008, 03:00:08 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2008, 05:33:23 pm »

                                       









Clothing



Clothing mainly featuring the colour red is commonly worn throughout the Chinese New Year because it is believed that red will scare away evil spirits and bad fortune. In addition, people typically wear new clothes from head to toe to symbolize a new beginning in the new year.





Shou Sui



守岁(守歲) (Shou Sui) occurs when members of the family gather around throughout the night after the reunion dinner and reminisce about the year that has passed while welcoming the year that has arrived. Some believe that children who Shou Sui will increase the longevity of the parents.

一夜连双岁,五更分二年 means that the night of New Year's eve (which is also the morning of the first day of the New Year) is a night that links two years. 五更 (Wu Geng the double hour from 0300 to 0500) is the time that separates the two years.





Symbolism



During these 15 days of the Chinese New Year one will see superstitious or traditional cultural beliefs with meanings which can be puzzling in the eyes of those who do not celebrate this occasion. There is a customary reason that explains why everything, not just limited to decorations, are centered on the colour red. At times, gold is the accompanying colour for reasons that are already obvious. One best and common example is the red diamond-shaped posters with the character 福 (pinyin: f), or "auspiciousness" which are displayed around the house and on doors. This sign is usually seen hanging upside down, since the Chinese word 倒 (pinyin: dǎo), or "upside down", sounds similar as 到 (pinyin: do), or "arrive".

Therefore, it symbolizes the arrival of luck, happiness, and prosperity.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2008, 03:06:58 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2008, 05:35:48 pm »












                                                                 Flowers





The following are popular floral decorations for the New Year and are available at new year markets.




                                                     Floral - Decor - Meaning







Plum blossom symbolizes luck



Kumquat symbolizes prosperity


Narcissus symbolizes prosperity



Chrysanthemum symbolizes longevity
 

Bamboo A plant used for any time of year



Sunflower means to have a good year
« Last Edit: January 25, 2008, 04:18:50 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2008, 05:39:24 pm »









                                                     Icons and ornamentals






Fish


The Koi fish is usually seen in paintings. Decorated food depicting the fish can also be found. It symbolises surplus or having additional savings so as to have more than enough to live throughout the remaining year. It coheres with the Chinese idiom (Pinyin: ninnin yŏuy)






 
Yuanbao ingots


The gold yuanbao (金元宝; jīn yunbǎo) symbolizes money and/or wealth. Yuanbao shaped ingots were the standard medium of exchange in ancient China. 







Lanterns



These lanterns differ from those of Mid Autumn Festival in general. They will be red in colour and tend to be oval in shape. These are the traditional Chinese paper lanterns. Those lanterns, used on the fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year for the Lantern Festival, are bright, colourful, and in many different sizes and shapes. 




                                                             Decorations





Decorations



generally convey a New Year greeting. They are not advertisements. Chinese calligraphy posters show Chinese idioms. Other decorations include a New year picture, Chinese knots, and papercutting and couplets. 






Lion dance


Lion dances are common during Chinese New Year. It is believed that the loud beats of the drum and the deafening sounds of the cymbals together with the face of the lion dancing aggressively can evict bad or evil spirits. Lion dances are also popular for opening of businesses in Hong Kong.


 



Fortune gods CaiShen, Che Kung,etc.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2008, 05:48:48 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2008, 05:54:44 pm »







                                         Superstitions during the New Year period
 




The following is a list of beliefs that vary according to dialect groups / individuals.



Good luck

Opening windows and/or doors is considered to bring in the good luck of the new year.

Switching on the lights for the night is considered good luck to 'scare away' ghosts and spirits of misfortune that may compromise the luck and fortune of the new year.



Sweets are eaten to ensure the consumer a "sweet" year.

It is important to have the house completely clean from top to bottom before New Year's Day for good luck in the coming year. (however, as explained below, cleaning the house after New Year's Day is frowned upon)

Some believe that what happens on the first day of the new year reflects the rest of the year to come. Asians will often **** at the beginning of the year, hoping to get luck and prosperity.

Wearing a new pair of slippers that is bought before the new year, because it means to step on the people who gossip about you.

The night before the new year, bathe yourself in pomelo leaves and some say that you will be healthy for the rest of the new year.





Bad luck



Buying a pair of shoes is considered bad luck amongst some Chinese. The word "shoes" is a homophone for the word for "rough" in Cantonese, or "evil" in Mandarin.

Buying a pair of pants is considered bad luck. The word "pants"(k) is a homophone for the word for "bitter"(kŭ) in Cantonese. (Although some perceive it to be positive, as the word 'pants'(fu) in Cantonese is also a homophone for the word for "wealth".)

A haircut is considered bad luck. The word "hair" is a homophone for the word for "prosperity". Thus "cutting hair" could be perceived as "cutting away your prosperity" in Cantonese.

Washing your hair is also considered to be washing away one's own luck (although modern hygienic concerns take precedence over this tradition)

Sweeping the floor is usually forbidden on the first day, as it will sweep away the good fortune and luck for the new year.

Talking about death is inappropriate for the first few days of Chinese New Year, as it is considered inauspicious as well.

Buying books is bad luck because the word for "book" is a homonym to the word "lose".

Avoid clothes in black and white, as black is a symbol of bad luck, and white is a traditional funeral colour.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2008, 02:41:07 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2008, 05:57:36 pm »












                                                         New Year parades





Origins



In 1849, with the discovery of gold and the ensuing California Gold Rush, over 50,000 people had come to San Francisco to seek their fortune or just a better way of life.

Among those were many Chinese, who had come to work in the gold mines and on the railroad. By the 1860s, the Chinese were eager to share their culture with those who were unfamiliar with it.

They chose to showcase their culture by using a favorite American tradition the Parade.

Nothing like it had ever been done in their native China. They invited a variety of other groups from the city to participate, and they marched down what today are Grant Avenue and Kearny Street carrying colourful flags, banners, lanterns, and drums and firecrackers to drive away evil spirits.



Today



Today, Chinese New Year parades are annual traditions across North America in cities with significant Chinese populations.

Among the cities with such parades are San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, and Vancouver, British Columbia.

However, even smaller cities that are historically connected to Chinese immigration, such as Butte, Montana, have recently hosted parades.


                                           
« Last Edit: January 26, 2008, 09:42:24 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2008, 05:59:02 pm »

« Last Edit: January 26, 2008, 09:47:38 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2008, 06:02:25 pm »



China Celebrates Chinese New Year
(Photo by China s/Getty Images)








                                                            G R E E T I N G S





The Chinese New Year is often accompanied by loud, enthusiastic greetings, often referred to as 吉祥話 (Jxingha), or loosely translated as auspicious words or phrases. Some of the most common examples may include:


Happy New Year

simplified Chinese: 新年快乐; traditional Chinese: 新年快樂; pinyin: Xīnnin kuil; Hokkien POJ: Sin-n khai-lo̍k; Cantonese: Sun nin fai lok. A more contemporary greeting reflective of western influences, it literally translates from the greeting "Happy new year" more common in the west. But in northern parts of China, traditionally people say simplified Chinese: 过年好; traditional Chinese: 過年好; pinyin: Guo Nian Hao instead of simplified Chinese: 新年快乐, to differentiate it from the international new year. And 過年好 can be used from the first day to the fifth day of Chinese new year.



Congratulations and be prosperous
 
Kung Hei Fat Choi at Lee Theatre Plaza, Hong Kongsimplified Chinese: 恭喜发财; traditional Chinese: 恭喜發財; pinyin: Gōngxǐ fāci; Hokkien Keong hee huat chye (POJ: Kiong-h hoat-chi); Cantonese: Gung hei faat choi; Hakka: Kung hei fat choi, which loosely translates to "Congratulations and be prosperous". Often mistakenly assumed to be synonymous with "Happy new year", its usage dates back several centuries. While the first two words of this phrase had a much longer historical significance (legend has it that the congratulatory messages were traded for surviving the ravaging beast of Nian, although in practical terms it may also involve surviving the harsh winter conditions), the last two words were added later as ideas of capitalism and consumerism became more significant in Chinese societies around the world. The saying is now commonly heard in English speaking communities for greetings during Chinese New Year in parts of the world where there is a sizable Chinese-speaking community, including overseas Chinese communities that have been resident for several generations, relatively recent immigrants from Greater China, and those who are transit migrants (particularly students).





Other greetings



Numerous other greetings exist, some of which may be exclaimed out loud to no one in particular in specific situations. For example, as breaking objects during the new year is considered inauspicious, one may then say 歲歲平安 (Susu png'ān) immediately, which means everlasting peace year after year. 歲 (Su, meaning "age") is homophonous with 碎 (meaning "shatter"), in demonstration of the Chinese love for wordplay in auspicious phrases. Similarly, 年年有餘 (Ninnin yǒuy), a wish for surpluses and bountiful harvests every year, plays on the word y to also refer to 魚 (meaning fish), making it a catch phrase for fish-based Chinese new year dishes and for paintings or graphics of fish that are hung on walls or presented as gifts.

These greetings or phrases may also be used just before children receive their red packets, when gifts are exchanged, when visiting temples, or even when tossing the shredded ingredients of yusheng particularly popular in Malaysia and Singapore.

Irreverent children may jokingly use the phrase (Traditional Chinese:恭喜發財,紅包拿來, Simplified Chinese: 恭喜发财,红包拿来) (Mandarin PinYin: Gōngxǐ fāci, hngbāo nli) ( Cantonese: 恭喜發財,利是逗來 ), roughly translated as "Congratulations and be prosperous, now give me a red envelope."

Back in the 1970s, children in Hong Kong used the saying: 恭喜發財,利是逗(到?)來,伍毫嫌少,壹蚊唔愛 (Cantonese), roughly translated as, "Happy New Year, now give me a red envelope, fifty cents is too little, don't want a dollar either." It basically meant that they disliked small change - coins which were called "hard substance" (Cantonese: 硬嘢). Instead, they wanted "soft substance" (Cantonese: 軟嘢), which was either a ten dollar or a twenty dollar bill.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_New_Year
« Last Edit: January 25, 2008, 09:53:14 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #26 on: January 10, 2008, 06:19:51 pm »

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« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2008, 10:00:46 pm »

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« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2008, 06:02:38 pm »

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« Reply #29 on: February 02, 2008, 04:07:36 pm »

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