Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2011 The Year of the Rabbit

2 February 2011

In a couple of hours or more specifically, tomorrow, 3 February 2011, will be the eve of the Chinese Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival.  Woot woot!

Nah, I am not Chinese.  But being a fusion of East and West, I love celebrating holidays from both polarities.  But then again,  maybe I just really love to party!  Generally, love to eat.

In Mandarin, the greeting would be phonetically written like this:   
Whilst in Cantonese, it would look a little more like this:   

They mean the same thing though, it's Happy New Year!

In the Gregorian Calendar, 2011 is just another page in the 21st century.  But for the Chinese, it is the Year of the Metal Rabbit. If you were born in 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, or 2011 - you were born under the sign of the rabbit.   You are in the good company of a couple of famous people, and to name a few: Albert Einstein, Frank Sinatra, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie.  

A little reading for the Rabbit Sign courtesy of the Chinese Zodiac:   

"Although considered somewhat timid by more dynamic signs, you are wise and cautious, and know better than to jump into any situation without thinking! 

Tactful, considerate, and popular with a wide circle of friends and family, luck just seems to come to you unbidden. 

For the rabbit in 2011, any recent setbacks or obstacles can be overcome, so look forward to a year in which to really shine, either personally or professionally."

And not unlike Thanksgiving and Christmas, the eve of the Spring Festival is the time for feasting with family and friends.  
Nian Gao (Sticky Rice)
The best part of any Chinese feast would be tables laden with auspicious food.  the word, "diet" is unacceptable, and the Federal advise on "cutting down on salt", is unthinkable.  It would be a hell of a bloody shame if you decide to go easy eating.  My claim to fame for this festival is called "food binge", by global standards. 

Almost every dish has a symbolic meaning or name that sounds like Chinese characters for fortune, happiness, longevity and prosperity.
Jiao Zi (Steamed Dumplings)
And how can a Chinese meal be complete without dumplings eh?  One of my favorites!
It is traditional to decorate the Chinese homes with vibrant colors, dominated by red and gold.  When Cantonese families visit each other to exchange New Year greetings it is customary to take gifts such as tangerines and oranges, as their Chinese names sound like "gold" and "wealth".  
Don't look at me, I just eat.  I am so looking forward to the lunar new year.  I can be so downright Asian in my belief that if the Gregorian Calendar did not seem to usher the good "chi", maybe the Lunar Calendar will.  Otherwise, I will use the Mayan Calendar.  
To all my Chinese friends,  all over the world, I wish you Wealth, Health and Longevity!  Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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