How to Celebrate Chinese New Year - Rachel Teodoro

How to Celebrate Chinese New Year

This post was sponsored by Ling Ling, all opinions expressed in my post are my own.


I am a typical American thrown into the melting pot of traditions and culture. Growing up it didn't seem like we had any real cultural traditions we followed as a family, though there are a few now as an adult that I can pinpoint. I just thought we ate saurkraut and sausage on New Year's because it was the only night my dad would tolerate it. I didn't realize that it stemmed from our muddled washed down German roots. When I married into an Italian family that could be easily traced back without too many great great parents getting in the way, it was easier to tie myself to those cultural traditions. Plus I really liked spaghetti and meatballs at every holiday meal {yes Erica, even Easter}

For the past few years, I've been volunteering with a group of international college students once a week. I'm learning a lot about their different cultures as I share our own American culture with them. Many of our students celebrate Chinese New Year and it's actually one of their largest celebrations regardless of where they are from. They are all giving me tips on how to celebrate, so this year, I thought I'd fully embrace it and try celebrating Chinese New Year with my American family. 

A guide to celebrating chinese new year

How to Celebrate Chinese New Year 

a guide to celebrating Chinese New Year

When is Chinese New Year?

The date of Chinese New Year changes every year since it's tied to the lunar calendar. This year, Chinese New Year {also called Spring Festival} falls on February 5, 2019. 

In Chinese astrology, each year is marked by an animal. This year, 2019, is the year of the pig. The pig is a representation of diligence, kindness, and generosity. 

What are the lucky colors of 2019? 

I knew that this holiday is traditionally celebrated with the color red, but during the year of the pig, pink and orange are also colors that will bring good fortune and wellness.

Activities and traditions for Chinese New Year

Firecrackers are always a great way to celebrate the day {send off the old year and welcome in the new one!}, but there are lots of other activities and traditions. The day is typically centered around family. Red paper strips are used to decorate and bowls of oranges and tangerines {even luckier if they still have the green leaves attached}, are placed on tables. There are also plates with dried fruits ready for eating. As you can see, food plays an important role in celebrating the Chinese New Year.  Everything you eat and everything you do on Chinese New Year, determine how your whole year will unfold.

potstickers and gold coins for chinese new year

Food to serve for Chinese New Year

Many different kinds of food are cooked and served because they are considered symbols of luck. If you serve noodles, don't cut them because the long noodles represent long life. Other foods, like Potstickers, are served because they symbolize riches and prosperity since they are the same shape as gold ingots {an ancient form of Chinese currency}.  

Remembering my lack of culture, I leave it to the pros to help me out with the cuisine. Ling Ling provides authentic Asian recipes bursting with flavor and is made with high-quality ingredients. Their Potstickers are some of my favorite and they are easy to prepare and perfect to share with family and friends on Chinese New Year.  

I did learn how to make a few great accompanying side dishes for my Potstickers at the Ling Ling Seattle event from Chef Katie Chin and I promised to share the recipes with you.



Yield: 4-6
long beans with cashews

Chinese Long Beans with Cashews

Enjoy these Chinese long beans with cashews as the perfect side dish full of flavor and tender and juicy.
prep time: 5 min cook time: 5 min total time: 10 mins

ingredients:

  • 1 lb of Chinese long beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 oz roasted cashews
long beans with cashews


instructions

blanched green beans
  1. Cook the long beans in boiling water until tender and crisp, about 2 minutes. If using green beans, cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer the beans with a slotted spoon to an ice bath until cool. Drain and set aside
  3. Heat the oil in the wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green beans and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, hoisin sauce and oyster sauce and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  4. Dish out and garnish with roasted cashews. Serve immediately with steamed rice and Ling Ling Potstickers. 
Created using The Recipes Generator


long green beans with cashew recipe



Yield: 4-6
spicy garlic asian eggplant

Spicy Garlic Asian Eggplant

This flavorful eggplant recipe is a great way to try a new vegetable. You can turn up the heat with extra spice and garlic, or tone it down for those who don't love the spice.
prep time: 10 min cook time: 5 min total time: 15 mins

asian eggplant recipe

ingredients:

  • 4 Asian eggplants, cut in half lengthwise then diagonally into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 hot red chili peppers, seeded and thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 tbsp water
asian eggplant recipe

instructions

  1. Cover the eggplants with water, add the salt and stir to dissolve. Soak the eggplants for 5 minutes then drain well.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the oyster sauce, sugar and sesame oil. Set aside
  3. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, chili peppers and eggplant and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add 2 tbsp water and continue stir-frying for 2 more minutes. Add the oyster sauce mixture and stir well to mix. Dish out and serve immediately with hot steamed rice and Ling Ling Potstickers.

NOTES:

Asian Eggplant has a more narrow shape. It can be found at many Asian markets. You can substitute regular eggplant, just cut it lengthwise and into 4 to 6 strips before slicing.
Created using The Recipes Generator


red dress and gold coins

Superstitions and beliefs around Chinese New Year

There are a lot of superstitions and beliefs around Chinese New Year. Most of these superstitions have been passed down through the ages and have thousands of years of history behind them. Even though many superstitions aren't believed, they are still followed. 

Diving right in, don't wash your hair on Chinese New Year day or you'll wash out all of your good luck. You'll also want to make sure your house is clean ahead of time. No sweeping or that good luck may be swept out with it. If you cry on New Year's day it means your year will be sorrowful, so fill your day with happy thoughts {and no tears!}. You don't want to say any bad or negative words because you don't want to bring misfortune upon you in the New Year. Using scissors or knives could cut your stream of wealth or success, so put away the sharp objects. 

My favorite tradition {and one I'm totally getting behind!} is to step into new shoes on Chinese New Year day so you can start the year off on the right foot. So why not get the whole family a new pair of shoes to celebrate?

I'm excited to really celebrate Chinese New Year this year. I'm going to try a few recipes, invite a few friends and maybe I'll even buy myself a new pair of shoes! Why don't you join me!



1 comment

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