– HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR 2024-
“Kung Hei Fat Choi”
2024 is the year of the Wood Dragon
The Chinese New Year 2024 starts on Saturday 10th February 2024 and ends on January 28th, 2025, according to the 2024 Chinese horoscope.
Did you know? In Chinese culture, the Dragon holds a significant place as an auspicious and extraordinary creature, unparalleled in talent and excellence. The arrival of the New Year is a moment of reflection, renewal and for rekindling family bonds, it signifies the importance of family, and prosperity.
The Chinese New Year is celebrated globally and also in the local UK Chinese communities (Chinatown areas) especially in larger cities like London, Manchester and Birmingham.
As our UK office is local to Manchester, we are looking forward to the planned events for Chinese New Year weekend.
From 12 noon on Sunday 11th February the famous 175ft dragon will parade through Manchester city streets as it makes it way to Chinatown, accompanied by a traditional Lion and Ribbon dancers, Chinese Opera performers, 12 Zodiac animals and ancient army characters.
Manchester Chinatown will become home to a live performance stage, a fun fair, and lots of stalls serving up authentic street food.
Mona our China Manager says;
The China office have already started to celebrate, we enjoyed a night out for our New Year dinner, we enjoyed lots of traditional Chinese dishes, we all had a great time!
There was lots of colourful, festive decorations on display, including the Golden Dragon; Chinese dragons symbolise wisdom, power and wealth, and they are believed to bring good luck to people, particularly important for the coming new year!
All the family join in with the celebrations and preparations for Chinese New Year, here is my son writing Chinese banners, he has been learning to write Chinese calligraphy.
Our local community decorate the streets and many market stalls offer local produce for the new year celebrations, including fresh food produce, and cooking utensils.
Sammi, our Taiwan Sales Account Manager says;
“The Lunar New Year is the longest folk festival in Taiwan, and is a time for families to be together. The main traditional celebrations of the festival include eating dinner with family, giving firecrackers, new clothes and Red envelopes, these usually contain money and are given to children and seniors. Red envelopes are used in the hope of giving good luck (as well as money) to the receivers.
We celebrate with a New Year’s Eve dinner called “reunion dinner”, and is believed to be the most important meal of the year, and generally has a symbolic meaning. We like to eat “perennial vegetables” Mustard is said to promote longevity, and “leeks” (homonym “leek” “long”, said “long long”).
Also, eating Radish (turnips), is said to promote good luck; and if we eat fish, it is said there will be surplus year after year”
Max our Hong Kong Sales Account Manager says;
“My family are from Beijing, so for us Mum always cooks fish, chicken and soup, and my favourite homemade ‘Braised Beef Shank’ ” (See below for recipe link)
Braised Beef Shank recipe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=318rdUn5uq0
Chinese people love nothing more than celebrating with food;
Some favourites include: Spring Rolls, Hot soups, Dumplings, Noodles (especially long noodles), Steamed Fish and Chicken, and various vegetable side dishes.
For Chinese New Year, people like to eat long noodles. They are also called 长寿面 (cháng shòu miàn), which means “longevity noodles.” You aren’t allowed to cut them and should try not to chew either. Apparently the longer the noodle, the longer your life will be.
Also many food and meats have symbolic meanings, the Chinese people believe eating these around this period promotes the meaning, these include:
- Eggs: big and healthy family
- Lobster: endless money rolling in
- Shrimp: fortune and wealth
- Roasted pig: peace
- Duck: loyalty
- Peaches: longevity
- Tofu: happiness and fortune for the entire family
- Fish: surplus and wealth
Some symbolic vegetables to consider include:
- Seaweed: symbolise wealth and fortune
- Lotus seeds: a blessing for many children and a healthy family
- Bamboo shoots: represent longevity, as well as going onward and up
- Muskmelon and grapefruit: symbolise family and hope. In addition, grapefruit symbolises wealth and prosperity
- Osmanthus flower petals: in Chinese, osmanthus (桂—guì) is a homophone 贵, which means noble and precious
- Leek/chives: leek (韭—jiǔ) sounds similar to 久, meaning long and everlasting
- Poria mushrooms: another play on words, this mushroom (茯苓—fú líng) sounds similar to 福禄 (fú lù), or blessings and fortune
Another must for Chinese New Year is a cake called Nian Gao, also known as “rice cake” or “New Year cake” in English.
In ancient times, Nian Gao were only used as offerings to the ancestors and gods. Gradually, they became a traditional dish during the Spring Festival. Now they are available every day of the year, but are still a special treat for the festival.
Nian Gao also has the same pronunciation as 高 (gāo – tall/high). It’s a wish for the Chinese people to be successful and “higher” each year. They believe that every year will be better than the last!
How will you be celebrating Chinese New Year?
Why not host your own Chinese Banquet, and try cooking a selection of your favourite delicious Chinese food, or try experimenting with different ingredients.
Or look up your local festivities to see what is planned, and enjoy a great weekend celebrating the Chinese New year.
You can call our friendly, dedicated UK team on +44 (0)1260 291691 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your needs.
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Braised Beef Shank recipe
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