Fling open the windows, boil up some unbroken noodles,
and say "Hello" to the Year of the Monkey
At first, what strikes you most about Western New Year's and Chinese New Year's are the
differences. Ours always falls on January 1st. In China, New Year's is on a different date every year. This year, it's January 22nd. Here in the West, tradition dictates that on the stroke of midnight, you kiss your beloved. In China on the stroke of midnight, all doors and windows are flung open to let the old year out. The ball dropping in Times Square has become an international symbol of the calendar turning over in the West. In China, they adopt a new symbol every year in the form of an animal. 2004 is the Year of the Monkey.
But look beyond the differences and there is a universal thread that closely ties the two New Year's celebrations on opposite sides of the globe together. Hope. That unshakeable belief that every year brings with it renewed optimism and a promise that the next 12 months will be
better than the last. New Year's celebrants in the West raise a glass and wish friends and family a happy, prosperous year ahead. In China, celebrants practice ancient symbolic traditions that clear the way for better times ahead. For example, sweeping and dusting are not allowed on New Year's Day itself for fear prosperity will get swept out the door with the dirt. These traditions also spill over into the food category. Only unbroken noodles should be cooked for New Year's- symbolizing long life - and fish are served whole as a symbol of
For a first hand taste of Chinese New Year, sit down on January 22nd to dishes made with ingredients that symbolize hope and prosperity. Orange-date pudding is a delicious dessert that includes oranges for good fortune. Vegetarian Lo Mein is an authentic Asian staple with noodles (for long life) and Stir-Fried Tofu with Almonds gets some of its traditional flavor from
scallions (a symbol of intelligence).
Kathy Grobe, Vice President and Marketing Director at Vitasoy USA, says, "Preparing Chinese dishes is a tangible, not to mention delicious, way to bring the Chinese traditions to life. It's a chance for Americans to celebrate the culture to appreciate and to realize that
in China, New Year's is the same day of hope and optimism that it is here in the West."
Once the food is on the table, everyone should put on a favorite red shirt or sweater & another Chinese New Year's tradition and then dig in. Just think. Celebrating both our New Year and then the Chinese New Year on January 22nd may bring you twice the good fortune
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