The Chinese New Year festival covers many days of festivity, clearing out the old year and welcoming in the new. ‘Hoi Nin’, the opening of the year, signifies continuous celebrations! Often there is a decorative fish jumping over the front door to symbolize that the New Year is ‘going up a level’, as the fish jumps to reach new heights.
The first day of the New Year, on February 8th, is a most important occasion, as it’s a time for the entire extended family to gather for a celebratory meal. Usually this will be with the Father’s side of the family first, including Grandparents, Uncles and Aunties and all of the children. On the second day celebrations continue with the Mother’s family. The traditional meal is vegetarian with chives often used as a garnish because phonetically the Chinese word for chives sounds like ‘long’ – a long life, in friendship, with family and business. Dumplings also are served and, in special dishes, these symbolise gold and silver.
On New Year’s Eve ‘Red Packets’ are prepared for the young people visiting their older relatives and all (except those married) receive ‘Red Packet’ gifts from the adults, which symbolise blessings in health, study, happiness and good luck. Tang, The Asian Food Emporium in Melbourne have a gorgeous range of Red Packets symbolising the year of the monkey as well as traditional foods, decorations and cards at 185 Russell Street Melbourne.
Firecrackers are let off with dragon and lion dancers to scare off evil spirits, traditions much loved by everyone; catch these at Queen Vic Markets on 6th Feb, Federation Square on 6th/7th Feb, Docklands 8th Feb and the Dragon Parade starts in China Town on 14th Feb. Crown will put on fireworks on 6th Feb and the lanterns are out today (2nd February) at the Emporium. There are many Chinese cultural festivals on in Melbourne during this time to celebrate.
The Tang Family from TANG The Asian Food Emporium wish all their patrons a very happy and prosperous New Year!