The Chinese New Year is a holiday that celebrates the beginning of the new year on January 31st, and food plays an important role in this celebration. Many people associate China with food, so it should come as no surprise that food holds an important place in this holiday. There are many other traditions associated with this event! They vary from region to region but some are common around china.

We've compiled 7 facts about the Chinese new year that will make your celebration even more fun this year!

Fact #01: What is the Spring Festival and When Does it Take Place?

The Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar, full of cultural and historic meaning. The festival marks the beginning of spring, and the start of a new year according to the Chinese lunar calendar. For this, Chinese New Year's Eve celebrations traditionally begin on the first day of the lunar month and end with the Lantern Festival, which takes place on the fifteenth day.  

The festival has many celebrations across northern and southern China, but also in the related nations and ethnic groups.  

Fact #02: Its Meaning

The Chinese New Year is a time of celebration and family reunion. The festival marks the start of spring, as well as an opportunity for friends and family members to get together.  The event has religious significance in ensuring good fortune throughout this coming year; however, its earliest form was mainly focused on giving farmers/workers who had laboured hard all through winter some relief from their labour so that they could resume work revitalized after having rested up properly-hence why it's called “the Day Off".

Fact #03: The Zodiac Calendar

The Chinese zodiac is a repeating cycle of 12 years and each animal in the Chinese zodiac represents a different element, and, therefore, aspect of life. Each year is  represented by one of twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac.

This year is the Water Tiger year, animals labelled as "the king of all beasts" in China. It symbolises strength, fights against the evils, and braveness.

Fact #04: Chinese New Year Decorations

Chinese families often decorate their homes with red lanterns and spring scrolls, which they believe bring good luck. These decorations often feature the Chinese character for "luck" or "prosperity". This character is written in a swirling, cursive style and is often accompanied by Chinese coins or gold foil.

Fact #05: Food

New Year's Eve dinner food traditions include eating seafood such as fish or prawns to symbolize a plentiful harvest in the coming year. However, there's many more:

- One food tradition is to eat dumplings. Dumplings are thought to bring good luck, and they're also considered a symbol of wealth because their shape resembles gold ingots.

- Another food tradition is to eat noodles. Noodles are long and represent longevity, which is a key part of the Chinese New Year celebration.

- Some people also eat tangerines during this holiday. These are said to be symbols of happiness and good fortune, so it's no surprise that they're often eaten during this time.

- Another popular food item associated with the Chinese New Year is rice cakes. These cakes are made from glutinous rice flour and are usually stuffed with sweet fillings like red bean paste, lotus seed paste, or peanut butter. They're considered to be a symbol of good luck and are often eaten during the New Year celebration.

- Finally, one food tradition that's a little bit more unusual is to eat insects! Certain types of insects are considered to be auspicious symbols in Chinese culture, so some people will eat them during the New Year celebration as a way of bringing good luck into their lives.

Fact #06: The Red Envelopes

One tradition that has become popular around the world during the Chinese new year is the giving of red envelopes of lucky money. These envelopes are also filled with chocolates or sweets and are given to children and unmarried adults as a gesture to avoid bad luck and to ensure that they have a prosperous future.

Fact #07: Mahjong

Chinese New Year traditions also include the playing of games, such as mahjong: the game is played with a set of 144 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols. Each player begins by receiving 13 tiles, which they use to make four melds in turn order before drawing their 14thtile(the "call mahjong"). If you match all four hands then it's yours for the taking!

Do you know any other traditions associated with the Chinese New Year Celebrations? And if you're looking for some delicious recipes to try out this year, check out our website or send out a request to support.uk@eatfirst.com!


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