Happy Chinese New Year – Welcome to the Year of the Monkey

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2016 is the Year of the Monkey starting on February 8, 2016 (called the Lunar Chinese New Year or Chinese Spring Festival) and lasting to January 27, 2017. If you were born in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004 or 2016, you are a Monkey!

L-R-Wing-Yip-director-Henry-Yap,-director-Brian-Yip-and-chairman-Wing-Yip[5]Lucky and unlucky things for “Monkeys”

• Lucky numbers: 4 and 9

• Lucky days: the 14th and 28th of any Chinese lunar calendar month

• Lucky colours: white, blue, gold

• Lucky flowers: chrysanthemum, crapemyrtle

• Lucky directions: north, northwest, west

• Lucky months: Chinese lunar months 8 and 12

As with most festivities, Chinese New Year is centred on the delicious foods prepared for the occasion.

Certain dishes are eaten during Chinese New Year for their symbolic meaning. Lucky food is eaten throughout the 16-day festival season, especially on New Year’s Eve, to bring in luck for the coming year.

Not only do the dishes themselves matter, but the preparation and ways of serving are symbolic too.

Noodles have a long history in Chinese culture: the world’s oldest known noodles were found in China, not Italy, and they date back to more than 4,000 years ago. Noodles at Chinese New Year are made as long as possible, in order to ensure a long life.

In much of China, leaves also signify longevity. During New Year, families enjoy leafy greens like bok choy and mustard, served whole, to wish long lives to parents.

Citrus fruits also hold a place of honour on the Chinese New Year table, since they bring wealth, luck and status. This is because the Mandarin words for many types of citrus sound similar to prosperous words: gold and orange sound alike, as do tangerine and luck.

Wholeness is an important concept during Chinese New Year. Not only does it mean a good beginning and end to the year, it signifies completion in work and life. Many foods are cooked and served whole at New Year – fish, chicken, duck and crab. Even citrus fruits are presented with the leaves and stems still on them, to ensure wholeness and balance.

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