Celebrating the Lunar New Year

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For many Asian cultures, the Lunar New Year is a very big event held on the first day of the new year in the Chinese Calendar. This year, it happens to fall on February 14th to coincide with Valentine’s Day.

Each culture has its own way of celebrating – from decorations and traditional ceremonies to amazing food.

In many cities, ethnic Chinese communities will hold large public celebrations where anyone with an interest can take part and experience the event for themselves. But even if there are no such events planned in your area, you can still join in the festivities with the following Lunar New Year decorations and food:

1. Decorate windows, doors and vases with red paper cut outs or lanterns. You can also fill vases with flowers such as chrysanthemums, marigolds, white daffodils, or sunflowers – which symbolise luck, prosperity and longevity. These are all beautiful symbols for the new year!

2. Prepare a feast for dinner with noodles, dumplings and fish. Noodles symbolize longevity, so serving them on the Lunar New Year is meant to signal a long and prosperous life…at least for the year ahead. Find awesome Chinese New Year Recipes uploaded by BakeSpace members.

3. Try making your own mochi (sticky sweet rice cakes) for dessert. They can be filled and flavored in a number of ways, and are relatively easy to make. Traditionally, the filling should be red bean paste, but try them with peanut butter, nutella, fruit, ganache or dusted with praline or shaved chocolate for something a bit different.

4. Get up early with a loved one to observe the sunrise. This is a tradition in Japanese culture known as ‘Hatsuhinode’ – where people drive to the coast or up into the mountains to observe the first sunrise of the new Lunar year.

5. Buy some little red envelopes from your local Asian grocer and use them to present your children with their allowance. You can use this gesture to introduce them to a new culture. Alternatively, present close friends or relatives with a basket of fruit, cakes, biscuits or other small edibles gifts to wish them well in the new Lunar year.

6. Gather together with your family and/or friends to reminisce about the year that has passed and welcome the new Lunar year. This is not dissimilar to the Western tradition of new year’s resolutions, except you do it together in order to reflect and wish each other good will for the new year.

There are many other ways to celebrate this occasion, but hopefully these suggestions will inspire you to try something different and learn about cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year!

Chinese New Year Recipes

What are you doing for the Lunar New Year? Share your ideas below in our comments section…

If you’re also looking for Valentine’s Day Recipes… we got you covered!

The eldest of three children, I was born in South Korea and immigrated to Australia with my parents at the age of 4. Having grown up mostly in Australia (with a brief 2 year stay in Korea when I was 14 – 16), I’ve grown up in a strange hybrid existence of Korean and Australian attitudes and mentalities, which very much crosses over into fields such as my cooking – I love my kimbap just as much as I do a good chicken parma or pavlova!

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