Chinese New Year is not just one day, but a festival of 15 days. In previous blogs we talked about the traditions followed in the days before New Year and on New Year’s Day. To celebrate the New Year, as well as traditional foods, decorations, fire crackers and dragons there is the Rice Cake or New Year Cake. The tradition of the Chinese New Year Cake, called Niango, made of glutinous rice or sugar, hails from Eastern China. It sits on display through the festivities until the seventh day.
Rest is taken on days 3, 4, 5 and 6.
The 7th day is very auspicious. On this day the Goddess created people. This day is everyone’s Birthday and we are all one year older. Again there are firecrackers. Special foods featuring fish, such as a Malaysian dish known as the Prosperity Toss are served.
The 15th day sees the closing of celebrations but another surprise waits. It is the Chinese equivalent of Valentines Day and is often celebrated with lanterns and vibrant night markets. Traditionally at these markets, the first sentence of a poem is placed upon the lanterns. Like riddles, the game is to guess the last sentence. Young lovers would attend these lantern festivals guessing the poems together.
People feast upon glutinous rice balls known as Tang Yuan. These are round and symbolise unity, completeness and the full circle. You will find Tang Yuan and other traditional foods, decorations and cards for Chinese New Year celebrations at Melbourne’s popular TANG The Asian Food Emporium at 185 Russell Street, conveniently open from 10am to 11pm.
And so the year begins. The celebration is rich in symbolism yet there is great love and care with respect and joy in life, in children, in caring for one another. This is no countdown to midnight; this is a reset and another chance to do better, to face life’s challenges and to be successful. The Tang family wish you all a Happy New Year with Health, Happiness, Family and Prosperity!