Kate Heyhoe

Kate's Global Kitchen

by Kate Heyhoe


Chinese New Year Festival

Leap into The Year of the Tiger. The tiger is the third animal in the twelve animal cycle of the Chinese New Year. People born in the Year of the Tiger (1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010) are characterized as sensitive, emotional, aggressive and sincere. They tend to be self-righteous and as a result of their pertinacity, quick tempered with their critics. All the same it is difficult to resist him, for he is a magnetic character. People automatically respect him—even those working against him.

The New Year is the most important festival in the Chinese calendar and celebrations continue for weeks. People come to temples to pray for success in the coming year as well as seek advice on love, health and business. Firecrackers are lit to ward off evil spirits and green branches are bumt to signify the passing of the old year.

Some famous people born in The Year of the Tiger are Marco Polo, Marilyn Monroe, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Charles Lindberg, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Sir Alec Guinness.

The streets of San Francisco's Chinatown will once again be lined with fresh flowers and plants as well as food, candies and fruits, all of which are all symbols for a new beginning and a prosperous new year. Children will be on their best behavior as they will receive lai see (lucky money) in red envelopes from relatives and friends. The custom is a way of sharing wealth and offering propitious greetings.

Chinatown this time of year is filled with the sound of firecrackers. The lingering smell of the gun powder and the telltale red wrappings strewn on the sidewalks inform the passerby that the evil sprits have been dispatched away. Lion dancers hired by the merchants and family associations help to scare away bad influences with their supernatural powers.

Celebrate Chinese New Year with:
Royal Lion's Head, a recipe by Martin Yan.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!


For more online Chinese recipes:
Global Gourmet's China

Lunar New Year Handbook

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This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.

Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.

This page modified January 2007

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