Chinese New Year is the most important Chinese festival. The so called red pockets, red envelopes filled with money, are the most important part for children, the different traditions the most important part for adults. So, let’s look at some of the stories, traditional food and the red pockets.
One of the most famous stories of Chinese New Year is the zodiac. You might have heard of the Chinese zodiac and its famous race between different animals: rat, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, cock, dog and pig. Some of you might wonder why the rat came first, let’s find it out.
The King in ancient time told the animals “I will hold a race. I will make the twelve winners represent the twelve times in a day, and the twelve years.” The animals were so excited about it. On the day before the competition, the cat asked its friend, the rat, to wake her and so that she could join the competition. She was a lazy sleepy cat. However, the rat didn’t do this and just went to the competition the next day. That’s why the cat is not one of the twelve animals.
When the race started, most of the competitors ran with their full power, but not the rat. The rat was the smartest one. It climbed on the ox and took a ride. Not long into the race and the ox was leading and almost reaching the finish line. Ox thought that that he would win. However, the rat jumped off the ox and won just in time. After the competition, the cat woke up and found the rat betrayed her. She was furious and was no longer friends; that’s the reason why cats are always chasing rats.
Another key area that makes Chinese New Year so special is the food. In Hong Kong, we may have a dish to share with our family when it’s Chinese New Year and some important days. Poon Choi is a big pot of food, a combination of everything, included pork, seafood, chicken and many kinds of vegetables like radish. It is a traditional Hong Kong dish; if you get a chance, you should try it!
Another food that you may likely see in Chinese family during Chinese New Year are tangerines, and usually as a pair. This is due to the pronunciation of tangerine in Chinese which is similar to ‘luck’, and having two is like doubling your luck. However, we do not eat the tangerines. Do not eat them when you see them in a Chinese’ persons house, since they might think you have taken their luck or make them less lucky in the coming year.
Moreover, Chinese New Year is an important festivals for children too, because of the red pocket. You might have heard of it. The Chinese love to send their blessings to the children. Parents put money in a red envelope with blessings written on, and hand it out. This is the main cash flow for the Chinese children, and is probably one of the reasons why children are interested in Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year is not just a festival of traditions, it is a festival of gatherings. During Chinese New Year, the Chinese always go and visit their families and have dinner together. The children might be going for red pockets, but the adults always know that visiting one another is like sending their blessings to one another, and to tell each other that they are caring for their family. Chinese New Year is also the festival of showing love and care. Why don’t you try telling your parents that you care about them this Chinese New Year? No matter where in the world they are.
Chinese New Year is definitely not the most important festival in Britain. But love is always there and if this article makes you think of your family, tell them you care about them, and send your blessings to them. Chinese traditions and stories might sounds a bit strange to you, but just remember that Chinese New Year is a time to meet the people you care about and to send your blessing to your family and friends.