Monday, 11 February 2013

Hi everyone
If you read through this blog to the end you will find a quiz to try, and hand in, with a prize for the winner, and, for years 7 and 8, details of a lunchtime event in Food Tech.
This Sunday saw the start of the Chinese New Year. It will last for 15 days until 25th Feb. This Year is the year of the Snake.
I have been researching lots of facts about the celebration of the New Year and will enlighten you all too!

According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian.  Nian would come on the first day of New Year to eat livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, Nian never came to the village again.   

On the days immediately before the New Year celebration, Chinese families give their home a thorough cleaning. It is believed the cleaning sweeps away the bad luck of the preceding year and makes their homes ready for good luck. Brooms and dust pans are put away on the first day so that the newly arrived good luck cannot be swept away. Some people give their homes, doors and window-frames a new coat of red paint;

Some believe that the second day of the New Year  is also the birthday of all dogs and remember them with special treats!

On the 13th day people will eat pure vegetarian food to clean out their stomach due to consuming too much food over the last two weeks.

The fifteenth day of the new year is celebrated as the Lantern Festival (otherwise known as Chap Goh Mei .Rice dumplings, a sweet glutinous rice ball brewed in a soup, are eaten this day. Candles are lit outside houses as a way to guide wayward spirits home. This day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, and families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns.
In Malaysia and Singapore, this day is celebrated by individuals seeking for a love partner, a different version of Valentine's Day. Normally, single women would write their contact number on mandarin oranges and throw it in a river or a lake while single men would collect them and eat the oranges. The taste is an indication of their possible love: sweet represents a good fate while sour represents a bad fate.

A reunion dinner is held on New Year's Eve where members of the family gather for the celebration. The venue will usually be in or near the home of the most senior member of the family. The New Year's Eve dinner is very large and sumptuous and traditionally includes dishes of meat (namely, pork and chicken) and fish. Most reunion dinners also feature a communal hot pot as it is believed to signify the coming together of the family members for the meal. Most reunion dinners (particularly in the Southern regions) also prominently feature speciality meats (e.g. wax-cured meats like duck and Chinese sausage) and seafood (e.g. lobster and abalone) that are usually reserved for this and other special occasions during the remainder of the year.
Red packets for the immediate family are sometimes distributed during the reunion dinner. These packets often contain money in certain numbers that reflect good luck and honorability.

Red packets almost always contain money, usually varying from a couple of dollars to several hundred. Per custom, the amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given during funerals .The number 8 is considered lucky  The number six is also very lucky. Sometimes chocolate coins are found in the red packets.
In addition to red envelopes, which are usually given from elder to younger, small gifts (usually of food or sweets) are also exchanged between friends or relatives (of different households) during Chinese New Year. Gifts are usually brought when visiting friends or relatives at their homes. Common gifts include fruits (typically oranges, and never pears), cakes, biscuits, chocolates, candies, or some other small gifts.
So, if you come to Food Tech on Monday 25th you can pick a red envelope. If there is an even number inside you will receive a little gift. If your number is 8 or 6 you win a Cadbury's creme egg, and if your number is divisible by both 8 and 6 you also win a prize.
Now for your quiz questions:
1.   Name the 12 animals of the Chinese calendar,in order.
2.   Why is the cunning Rat the first animal?
3.   What is the Chinese for Happy New Year?
4.   What symbolism do noodles carry?
5.   When and where was Ken Hom, the famous Chinese chef, born?
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MRS P's LUNCHTIME EVENT for Years 7 and 8,call in and find out. 

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