21 Jan Jumping Into The Year Of The Rabbit…Hope For A Gentler Year Ahead
One of my favorite holidays growing up was the Chinese New Year. I remember my mom would place red and gold decorations all around the house and there was always plenty of delicious food and sweets for weeks. I was told by my mom to eat certain dishes because it would bring me good luck and fortune in the new year.
One of my favorite things was when we would throw big parties at the house and lion dancers and acrobats would perform in the driveway. Firecrackers would go off to ward off evil spirits and all the guests were given red envelopes to put in the mouth of the lion to usher in good luck in the upcoming year.
This year, we had a quiet celebration at the house. Lots of symbolic food was served and of course, I put up red and gold decorations of my own for good fortune and luck.
The Year of the Rabbit
This year, Chinese New Year was on Sunday, January 22nd. It’s the Year of the Water Rabbit, a symbol of beauty, grace, mercy, and good luck. In Chinese astrology, the rabbit represents peaceful and patient energy. The Water element brings intuition and inner peace. Who’s ready to tap into that gentle and serene energy this year?!
The rabbit is one of 12 zodiac animals. The other animals include the rat, ox, tiger, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Each animal is assigned a different year. People born in the Year of the Rabbit (2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, and so on) are believed to be gentle, quick-witted, easygoing, and sometimes hesitant or timid.
Red and Gold
Why do you see so much red and gold during the new year? Chinese believe red is a symbolize of fire, good fortune, and joy. It is also used during weddings to ward off evil and foster fertility. Gold symbolizes wealth, prosperity, and illumination.
Food plays a big role during the holiday. Certain dishes are served because of their symbolic meaning. The auspicious symbolism is based on their appearance or pronunciation. For example, oranges are always served because the Cantonese word for tangerine (gam) sounds like the word for gold.
7 Lucky Chinese New Year Foods:
Fish — Prosperity
Dumplings — Wealth
Spring Rolls — Wealth
Sweet Rice Balls — Family Togetherness
Fruit — Fullness and Wealth
Glutinous Rice Cakes – higher income or higher position
Longevity Noodles — Happiness and Longevity
*All photos and graphic from ChinaHighlights.com