If you like having a reason to start a new task, project, or goal, Chinese New Year is a great time to begin. It’s almost spring, and spring is the perfect time to turn over a new leaf. Or maybe you didn’t quite get around to successfully beginning your “traditional” New Year’s Resolutions. Chinese New Year allows you a do-over because they’re still New Year’s Resolutions!
Chinese New Year – or “Spring Festival” – is celebrated according to the Chinese Lunar Year. This is why it’s on a different date each year, but usually occurring in early February. In 2018, Chinese New Year starts on February 16th and will be celebrated through February 23rd. Each year is associated with an animal from the Chinese zodiac; 2018 is the Year of the Dog.
A big part of Chinese New Year is a family reunion dinner. There is also a belief that how you start your new year is how the rest of the year will play out for you. My mother is Asian, and she incorporated these beliefs into our American New Year’s celebrations. In addition to the family being together on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day for the main meals, she also made sure that we saved at least one new outfit from our Christmas gifts to wear for the first time on New Year’s Day so that we’d have abundance during the upcoming year. We’d participate in at least one activity and also do something relaxing so that for the rest of the year we’d both work hard and have fun. When I was a kid, I didn’t understand the whole work-life balance thing. But as an adult, I totally get it. (And maybe this is part of the reason why my “calling” is to help people achieve this!)
In this Year of the Dog, it just so happens that we adopted a new dog shortly before the start of Chinese New Year. Our beloved Hildy passed away in November from canine cancer, and it was time to adopt a brother to keep our other dog company.
But you don’t have to adopt an animal in order to celebrate. If you want to go all in on Chinese New Year, here are 7 lucky foods to include on your menu:
Fish – prosperity
Dumplings – wealth
Spring Rolls – wealth
Tangyuan (Sweet Rice Balls) – family togetherness
Oranges – fullness and wealth
Rice Cakes – higher status or position
Noodles – happiness and longevity
For details about the how these foods came to be lucky and symbolize these characteristics, as well as to learn more about Chinese New Year, visit the China Highlights website.
For efficiency’s sake (both time-wise for cooking and carb-wise for not wanting to go into a diabetic coma), we consolidated the luck and will be serving oranges as part of an appetizer; dumplings, spring rolls, and noodles for dinner; and tangyuan for dessert. Come to think of it, that’s still pretty darn carb-heavy, but what the hey – Chinese New Year is a celebration!
Happy New Year to you!