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Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year!   Today is Chinese New Year, the most important Chinese Holiday where families gather to celebrate the traditional holiday with an annual family dinner with parents handing out red envelopes with money to their children.  I had the opportunity to interview my friend “May” (Not her real name) and get her views on what this tradition means to her and her family.

May is Chinese and and is the eldest of nine daughters.  We’ve known each other for over 15 years.   She  plans on taking off the day from work to celebrate with her family.  She advised that Chinese people believe that whatever you do on Chinese New Year will set the pace for what you’re going to do for the rest of the year.  In preparation for Chinese New Year she plans on getting a new outfit, a new pair of shoes and a new haircut for good fortune and prosperity. On Chinese New Year she encourages others not to throw anything away because it means that you will throw out your good fortune. May also recommends that you don’t talk bad about others because you don’t want to start the year off with bad things. When I asked her what other things she plans on doing for herself, she advised she plans to taking photos with her new camera in Orange County and spending time with her nephew. She is looking forward to celebrating this tradition with a huge family dinner  as well.

I’m very fond of my friend May and have a lot of respect for her cultural traditions. Over the years we’ve learned a lot about each others culture by observing each other cultural traditions.  We’ve shared family triumphs and stories at over one hundred dinners and hundreds of coffee & tea breaks.  We’ve learned that people in the United States and other countries have a lot more in common than we have differences. We love our families, our culture and food! One year I was even adopted as sister 1.5 and my parents also adopted her. I knew when my mom sent her home with a bag of lemons and made her some Pozole (traditional Mexican Hominy soup) that she was immediately my sister. I’m very fortunate that I can count her as one of my close friends.

Today I plan on making one of my families favorite recipes, Spicy Salt & Pepper Wings served with fried rice and a Chinese cabbage salad to celebrate the day with my family.  Later on this month May and I will have our own Chinese New Year celebration with a day of taking photos, shopping and a traditional Chinese dinner.  I can’t wait to find out if her parents gave all the nine children red envelopes and see if sister 1.5 got an envelope too.

Happy Chinese New Year!  Do you have a friend that has a special Chinese New Year Tradition?  How are you celebrating the Lunar New Year? Are you cooking or eating Chinese food today?

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30 Comments Post a comment
  1. I love Chinese New Year!

    I hate to admit this, but I totally forgot it was today!

    I need to figure out a quick activity for my kids to do in honor of today!

    January 23, 2012
  2. Good day to start drinking green tea and quit coffee!

    January 23, 2012
  3. Great post… lots of things I didn’t know. 🙂

    January 23, 2012
  4. We happened upon Chinese New Year at Empress Pavilion in Chinatown one year. Just a great celebration and of course, it comes with great food!

    Thanks for sharing.

    January 23, 2012
  5. I want a red envelope! lol

    January 23, 2012
  6. I´m waiting for my red envelope with money inside. Happy Chinese New Year, everyone! Love your post, Eva, wonderful friendship feelings.

    January 23, 2012
  7. That menu sounds delicious! I want a red envelope too 🙂
    I do the same thing on our western New Years Eve: trying to look good, have everything clean at home and spend the night with friends and family.
    Happy Chinese New Year!

    January 23, 2012
  8. I love that you are sharing cultural traditions with a friends–Thats so great!!! I wish I would have planned ahead and made a Chinese/Dragon style meal. Maybe its not too late? I’m full of inspiration now — Thank you!!!

    January 23, 2012
  9. I need to introduce my kids to Chinese New Year. They will especially enjoy those red envelopes!!!

    January 23, 2012
  10. What a beautiful story! xo

    January 23, 2012
  11. What a great post…. Thank you May for sharing your traditions with Eva so we can all know how to celebrate Chinese New Year in the future! 🙂

    January 23, 2012
  12. You are both lucky to have each other in your lives… it sounds like you really both appreciate and love the differences about each other.

    January 23, 2012
  13. li #

    I had Chinese food today! My part Chinese novio doesn’t consider the local spot authentic Chinese food (he calls it Fast-Food, which I guess it is since it’s not the dim sum he thoroughly enjoys on Sundays) but I did it just for him regardless, since I had no time to cook. But that’s all we did today in honor of it. Basically, we were lazy. ;-(

    Happy Chinese New Year!!!

    January 23, 2012
  14. I don’t know anyone celebrating the Chinese New Year but I love the holiday and the Chinese traditions. There is so much symbolism! Love the idea of not being negative or throwing anything away!

    January 23, 2012
  15. My daughter is learning all about Chinese New Year in preschool and is so excited about it. She has been walking around saying “happy new year” in Chinese and singing songs about Chinese New Year. I love that she is learning about other traditions! Thanks for sharing this post with us and giving us some insights into the Chinese New Year!

    January 23, 2012
  16. Wow I totally forgot that was today. : ( What a special friendship you both share….. Thank you for the reminder and a bit of insight into the holiday : )

    January 24, 2012
  17. Happy Chinese New Year! This just reminded me that I have wished my good friend a Happy Chinese New Year. Must do so now.

    January 24, 2012
  18. megamama #

    Thank you for sharing! I found this super interesting. Happy Chinese New Year every one!

    January 24, 2012
  19. I went to China Town in LA to celebrate in a Very good Chinese restaurant! I love celebrating any tradition!

    January 24, 2012
  20. no puedo creer que tengo mucha sangre China y nunca he celebrado el ano nuevo…. tantas tradiciones bonitas….

    January 24, 2012
  21. We love Chinese New Year and celebrate it every year. My daughter usually heads up the cooking as she loves Chinese. The year of the dragon, how cool! Such a sweet post in honor of your friendship!

    January 25, 2012
  22. Thanks for sharing the culture of Chinese New Year. I have some friends that do Feng Shui and they use the red envelope as well. I love how these cultures have maintained the traditions for thousands of years.

    January 25, 2012
  23. What a beautiful friendship!

    January 26, 2012
  24. “We’ve learned that people in the United States and other countries have a lot more in common than we have differences.” Funny how media outlets have “good news” segments (if at all) at the end of newscasts. They should take a cue from your blog and so many others that are celebrating the positive, front row center, 24/7, 365. ¡Viva True Friends!

    February 2, 2012

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