2.02.2011

Happy Lunar New Year!

The house is clean. The feast is prepared. Decorations are up, and fresh flowers are sitting pristine in vases. Family members have been invited, and the kids are totally excited because they're getting gifts.

What? You say Christmas was a month ago? Well, that's NOT A PROBLEM because TONIGHT is Lunar New Year's Eve aka Chinese New Year's Eve!

(Chinese people aren't the only people who celebrate the Lunar New Year, but that's my demographic. So from here on out, everything I'm presenting is going to be from my experience of the holiday, which is in the Taiwanese/Chinese tradition. There's my disclaimer. :P )

So there's tons of stuff I could tell you about the New Year, but I'm not an expert and I don't want to write you an entire essay. Besides, that's what Google and Wikipedia is for! Instead, I'd like to give you a visual tour of the awesome-o stuff.

Mostly, this means food. New Year's Eve is all about the big family feast, and trust, it IS a FEAST.

Why, yes, that is a roast pig.
We usually don't have a roast pig, but we did one year. So I thought I'd share. More traditional New Year's foods are more like the following:

Nian gao: it's made of glutinous rice and can be stir-fried or served as a sweet dessert.

Credit: Wikipedia entry on Nian Gao
Sweet Nian Gao / Credit: Wikipedia

There's also fish for prosperity, based off the saying nián nián yǒu yú, which roughly translates as "may there be fish every year." Also, you don't eat all of the fish; there's supposed to be leftovers.

Steamed Fish pic from Weave a Thousand Flavors (recipe there too!)
Noodles for longevity.

From New Asian Cuisine
Oranges because they sound like "luck / fortune" and Lo Bo Gao - a turnip cake.

From Wikipedia
There's a bunch of other food, but now I'm getting hungry from looking at all of this. Basically, the thing with New Year's food is to wish everyone good fortune for the coming year. I mean, check out all that food symbolism. If it's a New Year's dish, it is probably because the food is a homonym for another word that sounds like "luck" or "fortune" or "abundance."

So, I hope you enjoyed my short little forage into food. It is one of my great loves.

Here's to a fantastic Year of the Rabbit. Happy New Year to you all! Gong xi fa cai! (Congratulations and be prosperous!)


P.S. Luce insisted I share this gem of a Lunar New Year's song: Gong Xi Gong Xi (Congratulations, congratulations)
It's like the Feliz Navidad of Chinese New Year.



P.P.S. I think all the congratulating might stem from the folkloric history of the horrible Nian (a monster, also the word for 'year') rampaging about and eating people and livestock at the start of every year. So you know, the congrats is for surviving!

17 comments:

Emy Shin said...

Happy New Year, Alice!

All those foods look so yummy -- they make me wish I were at home this New Year so I could enjoy all the delicious food, too!

Melissa said...

Happy New year!!!

That food looks delicious and exotic and I'd love to sit down and eat with you! Enjoy!

Connie said...

Gong xi fa cai!

I love any occasion for feasting. Too bad it's too late for us to roast a pig.

Angela Felsted said...

Mmmmm, I love your spread. My mouth is watering just looking at it.

Elena Solodow said...

You make me very hungry. Can I come?

Krispy said...

Emy- Thanks! Happy New Year to you too! One sucky thing about college, missing out on the NYE food!

Melissa- Thanks! Well, if you're ever in SoCal... :)

Connie- LOL. It's never too late to roast a pig! Or really the key is to buy 1 pre-roasted.

Angela- Yeah, that's why I had to stop posting. Maybe I should've put up a warning?

Elena- I'm all about sharing the food. The more the merrier!

Icy Roses said...

I love nian gao! But usually my family has dumplings for prosperity for new years. We always have noodles on birthdays, for longevity, as you said. All that food looks delicious and I wish I could go home this year instead of being stuck at school. :(

If you're going to Chicago, BRING A SCARF. That is the single most important thing I can think of. You will freeze to death without one. You should probably just put on as many clothes as you can. Being from Illinois, I'm used to the cold weather, so I never wear gloves or even a hat, but I always wear a scarf. You, however, are from California. That's a little different. Pack on the layers! And have fun, because Chicago is awesome.

Happy New Year!

Christina Lee said...

*jumps through the screen, lands on table and digs right in*

HAppy New year!

Tere Kirkland said...

Hey, Happy New Year! I love those turnip cakes, but none of my friends do, so we never get it at dim sum.

Is your familiy big into giving red envelopes?

Hope y'all don't hurt yourselves eating too much! ;)

Ariana said...

Hnnnnnnnngh, I'm so sad I won't be at home with my family for Chinese New Year. I miss the food and the traditions and the family time. All of that food looks amazing!

Also, I'm a Snake... so I should be having a pretty good year!

/checking horoscope

ali said...

I had to laugh at that last bit and the congratulations on surviving!

This was really cool! (ha! I wrote COOK at first, guess all those food pictures made me hungry too!)

One of my sister-in-laws married a Chinese man, so we've had the privilege of going to some Chinese New Year parties and eating some of this food. It's so cool to experience something from other cultures!

Happy New Year Krispy and Alz! And congratulations and much prosperity to you!

Lydia K said...

You can invite me over for this dinner anytime. Maybe now??

:D

Solvang Sherrie said...

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

I don't know all the traditional foods, but I made Kung Pao chicken for dinner tonight! Your spreads looked delicious :)

Krispy said...

XiXi- Happy New Year! Oh yes dumplings! We actually don't usually, but I do love them. YOUR ADVICE IS VERY MUCH APPRECIATED. I'LL PACK TWO.

Christina- LOL. I'd send you a feast through the interwebs if I could. Happy New Year!

Tere- What?! I like the turnip cakes when they're fried. I will eat them with you at dim sum. :) And yes, fam is big on red envelope giving. One of the PERKS of celebrating the Lunar New Year. :D Although, now that I'm working, I think I'm getting taken off the list...

Ariana- :( that you won't be home for foodage. I hated that about college too. But yay for the prediction of a good year! I should check mine. I'm a Tiger.

Ali- I thought that last bit was funny too when I read it on Wiki (the things you learn!), so I had to add it as a post script. :) Glad you enjoyed your Chinese New Year experiences and that you got to try some of the food. ;) Thanks and Happy New Year!

Lydia- This is one of those times when you wish teleportation were real, right? Because then I'd invite you in a second. :)

RobynBradley said...

Happy New Year! The food looks scrumptious! :)

Medeia Sharif said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Medeia Sharif said...

Happy New Year! May you have a prosperous year.