Chinese New Year: The Year of the Dog

 

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History

Chinese New Year is just around the corner! The most important holiday of the Chinese tradition, Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year is based around a traditional Chinese Lunar solar calendar whose date indicates both the moon phase and the time of the solar year.

It is unknown exactly when the celebration first originated, however it can be traced as far back as the Shang Dynasty (1766 BC – 1122 BC) where it was a heavily religious ceremonial practice given in honour of heaven, earth and family ancestors.

Zodiac

The Chinese Zodiac ‘Sheng Xiao’ attributes a significant importance to the New Year tradition as it is based on a twelve-year cycle with each year related to an animal sign. Calculated according to the Chinese zodiac, there are 12 animals used to track time, attributing the animal’s characteristics to those whose birth year fall under the particular animal’s zodiac. 2018 is the Year of the Dog, and it is traditionally believed that characteristics including loyalty, reliability and patience are attributed to those born during that year.

Celebration

Celebrations leading up to and during the festival are divided by three phases, ‘Little Year, Spring Festival and Lantern Festival.’ During this time, families will gather to celebrate union and togetherness, which is at the heart of the importance of the festival’s tradition. Hanging decorations, shopping and setting off fireworks are also amongst the popular celebratory practices. The giving of ‘Red Packets’ which are envelopes containing Chinese Yuan are traditionally given by elders to young people as It was believed that the money in the red packet will protect them from evil and encourage a healthy life.

Food

Preparing, cooking and sharing food is at the heart of the Chinese New Year tradition. The New Year’s Eve dinner is of particular importance, as it is an opportunity for families to gather in reunion. Fish and dumplings are always served, and then accompanied by many other dishes including rice balls, rice cake, noodles and oranges, that all hold symbolism of luck and fortune.

If you’re cooking for your family in celebration of the Lunar New Year, or wanting to expand your tastebuds and try some tasty traditional Asian dishes, be sure to visit us at Tang Food Emporium in the Melbourne CBD. We have thousands of fresh, packaged and preserved items to guarantee an amazing and delicious New Year’s celebration for all.

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