Today is the final day of the current Chinese year and, whilst the new year doesn’t officially begin until tomorrow, the Year of Snake is actually already upon us. From a Chinese zodiac perspective, you’re already in to the following year once spring has begun and this is why the New Year is also referred to as Spring Festival in Chinese. So all those people who think they’re just scraping in and giving birth to dragon babies, well, that boat was missed once 4th February swung around this year. However it does mean that your baby has arrived perfectly timed to receive lots of “lei si” red packets!
Tradition says that whatever you do on the first day of the new year will dictate how the rest of year pans out for you, thus Chinese people avoid doing any work or anything laborious in hope of having a relaxing year ahead of them. We’re lucky to have new year’s day falling on a Sunday this year, so hooray to having the day off!
Mid-week saw me convert my living room into a Chinese peanut cookie sweatshop with 116 of these babies churned out over the course of an evening. Rigid cupcake cups make for perfect little packaged gifts – in red, of course – with an upside-down “fook” (福) character sticker meaning “good fortune arrives”.
I was also honoured to be invited by Jenius and tinytearoom to partake in a recorded chat about Lunar New Year celebrated by people of various backgrounds across Australia. You can listen to me ramble on about Cantonese food traditions, along with the much more articulate speech of The Hungry Australian, Let’s Get Fat Together, My Korean Kitchen, Food Endeavours of the Blue Apocalypse, Ooh Look..., and Juji Chews via ABC Sydney here.
So whether you celebrate the new year at this time on the lunar calendar or not, may the one ahead be full of happiness and great food.
happy chinese new year & happy eating!