The Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year or Spring Festival) celebration begins on February 5, 2019 and lasts for 15 days till February 19. The celebration is the most important event in Chinese calendar. It is marked by the arrival of spring and celebrates the end of one Chinese zodiac, and the beginning of the next. We usher in the Year of the Pig with loud bangs of the crackers and fireworks, the mandatory lion dances, the color red and the gathering of family and friends for the traditional reunion dinners New Year’s eve.

The first day of the Chinese New Year is usually spent visiting elders in the family and members of the family to greet and wish each other good luck. During the visits, there is exchange of traditional gifts consisting of a pair of mandarin oranges and the giving of red packet (envelope) containing an even amount of money. Unmarried adults and children receive these red packets from married family members and friends in exchange for wishing them good health and fortune.

It is also the time where you can sample snacks and goodies that the family members have worked around the clock baking and cooking.

During the Chinese New Year period of 15 days it is the traditional belief that the following are practised:

  • Staying up all night on Chinese New Year eve to bring longevity to one’s parents.
  • Don’t sweep the floor during Chinese New Year. All house cleaning is to be done before the start of the New Year. Sweeping symbolises the sweeping away of wealth and fortunes.
  • Don’t wash or cut hair as this is equivalent to washing away luck.
  • Wear red to welcome the New Year with an auspicious start.

Chinese New Year is the time when traditional foods are cooked for the family members that have come together to celebrate unity and prosperity.

Sample the special Chinese New Year traditional foods that you can find at Chinese family reunion dinners and get-together luncheons. The recipes have been passed from generation to generation. Try them and let me know how you like them.

  1. Yusheng

Yusheng is a type of fish salad. Family and friends gather together to toss the fish salad. Tossing of the salad symbolizes abundance and auspiciousness. So, don’t be shy in getting the table messy!

2. Shark Fin Soup

3. Bak Kwa

4. Pineapple Tarts

5. Malaysian Madeleines