b2ap3_thumbnail_Chinese_New_Year-1.jpgSo we’ve celebrated our Western New Year hopefully with a good party or two involving family and friends and toasted in 2014, made our resolutions (and how are yours going so far??!!) and are perhaps now endeavoring to adhere to the grand plan of reducing food, alchohol and pretty much all expenditure possible! I always think January is the dreariest month, and then we make it even more dreary by denying oneself all the pleasures in life! It is then rather appealing to find that we can now celebrate the Chinese New Year which is traditionally entails a 15 day-long holiday!

b2ap3_thumbnail_chinese-new-year2.jpgThe Chinese (or Lunar) New Year begins on the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar which in 2014 starts on Friday, January 31st and will be the Year of the Horse. Celebrations will take place across the globe as it is a major holiday for all Chinese people and includes fireworks, colourful processions of dragons and family parties with much eating and drinking. As with many aspects of Chinese society, traditional custom plays a key part. Houses are swept thoroughly in order to sweep away ill-fortune and make way for incoming good luck and windows and doors are decorated with every manner of red paper-cuts.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Chinese_dumplings.jpgThis is no less true as regards the food and drink consumed over the festive period, with certain foods being eaten to help bring good luck and prosperity over the coming year. For instance raw vegetables are good as the ‘crunch’ sound they make when eaten is associated with  money and good fortune. Likewise long noodles are usually on the menu - the longer the better as these bestow longevity - and nian gao, a special type of cake whose name means ‘higher year’ and represents the new heights you may aspire to reach in the new year. Even oranges and tangerines are eaten as the names sound like ‘gold’ and ‘luck’ respectively.

May your celebrations be filled with happy eating and drinking and much good luck for the Year of the Horse!

And finally..for those of you with real ‘Years of the Horse’ - why not make this year the one where you dig out your all time favourite horsey pics and get a collage made to keep those special memories alive!

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Gong Hey Fat Choy!!!