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February 05, 2016

Gong Xi Fa Cai – Happy Chinese New Year!

Get your chopsticks ready – it’s time to bring in the New Year! (For the second time in 2016!)

 

Monday 8th February 2016 marks a new lunar year in the Chinese calendar and the year of the Monkey! It is said that the Monkey’s year will bring many new and unconventional ways of doing things. It’s known as the year of resourcefulness, and we better make the most of it, because the next Monkey year won’t be until 2028!

 

So what’s the best way to celebrate Chinese New Year?

 

With Food!

It’s traditional to feast on New Year’s Eve with plenty of food. This is the most important meal of the year and should be eaten with all the family. Fish and dumplings are not only there for eating, but also to signify prosperity. In our house, noodles are essential, as they signify longevity (and should also be eaten on birthdays too!). There should always be leftovers for the next day, as this means that food will be plentiful for the coming year. So make sure your fridges are stocked this weekend, as an empty fridge could bring bad luck for the New Year!

 

Red Packets

Just like Christmas, people exchange gifts for Chinese New Year too. The most common gift is a red packet or envelope, which has money in. It’s not customary to give red packets to working adults, especially if they’re married, but if you’re a child or elderly, you’re in luck!

 

Cleaning

A few days before the Chinese New Year, it’s important to completely clean the house, driving the bad luck and the old away, as well as getting ready for a new start. 

 

New Clothes

Buying a new outfit for Chinese New Year is really important… Not that we needed an excuse to go shopping! Purchasing new belongings symbolises welcoming new things and a new start.

 

Firecrackers

Fireworks are launched on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the coming of the New Year, as well as to drive away evil. It is believed that the person who launches the first firework of the New Year will have good luck!

 

 

So now you know what you should do for Chinese New Year… Here are a few things you shouldn’t do:

 

DON’T clean the house on the first or second day of the New Year – you might sweep away your good luck and wealth for the year!

 

DON’T wash your hair on the first day of the New Year – you might wash away your good luck

 

DON’T say any unlucky words – unlucky words bring bad luck!

 

DON’T cry – crying also brings bad luck…

As if that wasn’t enough excitement for one week, Tuesday 9th February marks another foodie festival; Shrove Tuesday, better known as Pancake Day! Like Chinese New Year, it’s not always the same date every year, but it’s celebrated for very different reasons…

 

Shrove Tuesday is the day to use up all of the “luxuries” in the house before fasting for Lent. Known as “fat eating” day, it became tradition to make pancakes in order to use all of the eggs, butter and milk in the house, making sure there were no temptations for the 40 days of Lent that follow.

 

So during this week, keep in mind that people around the world will be getting ready to celebrate two very different festivals, both revolving around food! Gong Xi Fa Cai and Happy Pancake Day!

 

Love from Emily and The One Day Team x

 

P.S – Check out our Chinese Ribbon Dancing and One Day in China workshops!

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