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
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.