The Year of the Rooster~ Jan 28, 2017

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Today is the first day of the 2017 Lunar New Year aka¬†Spring Festival aka Chinese New Year in China and while I am not Chinese I celebrate Chinese New Year. My husband and I were expats in China for 3 years and I love many of the traditions¬†and culture¬†of the Chinese people. So much so that I brought much of that back to Canada with me. ( My youngest son teases that my home ( upstairs) is the China Museum and downstairs is the Brazil Museum ( we lived there too) But that’s ok. I know he’s teasing, but it helps me. It helps to be surrounded by things that remind you of a special place, great people ¬†and food and memories of a place that is otherwise so far away. It also helps me not miss China too much, and gets me through until I can visit again ( I have been back twice since we’ve moved home, and plan to go again hopefully in 2018)

Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival in China, is China’s most important traditional festival. It is also the most important celebration for families, and a week of official public holiday.

Although there are many stories about the start of the Chinese New Year festival, the main two reasons for the festival are:

  • To celebrate a year of hard work, have a good rest, and relax with family
  • To wish for a lucky and prosperous coming year

Chinese people believe that a good start to the year will lead to a lucky year. Chinese traditionally celebrated the start of a new year of farm work, and wished for a good harvest (when most were farmers). This has now evolved to celebrating the start of a new business year and wishing for profits and success in various vocations.

Chinese New Year is a time for families to be together. Wherever they are, people come home to celebrate the festival with their families. So many people travel during Spring Festival. Other than National days in October, it is the busiest travel time of the year!

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The New Year’s Eve dinner is called¬†“Reunion Dinner”, and is believed to be the most important meal of the year. Big families of several generations sit around round tables and enjoy the food and time together. The Reunion Dinner is celebrated on the “eve” of Chinese New Year.

The main traditional celebrations of the festival include eating reunion dinner with family, giving red envelopes, firecrackers, new clothes, and decorations. More modern celebrations include watching the CCTV Gala, instant message greetings, and cyber money gifts. Every year I watch the CCTV Gala, a habit I got used to in China. I usually chat with a few of my Chinese friends and family. ( I have even gotten red envelope money from a few of them) ***Check out the post from yesterday. https://justaneastcoastgirl.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=8624&action=edit

Every street, building, and house where Chinese New Year is celebrated is decorated with red. Red is the main color for the festival, as it is believed to be an auspicious color. Red lanterns hang in streets, red couplets are pasted on doors, banks and official buildings are decorated with red New Year pictures depicting images of prosperity. ¬†2017 is the Year of the Rooster so much of this year’s decorations are related to roosters!

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img_5734 img_5733img_57182017 is a year of the Rooster according to the Chinese 12 year animal zodiac.¬† Other Rooster years include: ‚Ķ1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017‚Ķ If you were born in one of those years… then you‚Äôre a Rooster. ( I am a Goat) What zodiac animal are you? Check the chart below.

It’s interesting that the Chinese believe if it’s your zodiac year, for example 2017 is Year of the Rooster. It is¬†considered a bad year for “Roosters”: people born in a Rooster year.¬†According to Chinese tradition, there are some things that people can do to fend off bad luck in a zodiac year.

Red is one of the luckiest colors in Chinese culture, standing for prosperity, loyalty, success, and happiness.¬†Red can drive away bad luck and evil spirits.Therefore wearing red during your zodiac year will bring you good luck and give you a good year. You can wear a red belt, red socks, red shoes, or red clothes, and red underwear is highly recommended during your zodiac year.¬†However, there is a rule that you need to pay attention to, or the red won’t ward off bad luck. You cannot buy the red underwear yourself.¬†It should be bought by a spouse, family member, or friend. lol

Besides wearing red, you can also wear jade accessories during your zodiac year to ward off bad luck, like pendants, earrings, rings, and bracelets.

People are often told by fortune-tellers that Tai Sui will bring bad luck. Actually in theory you can make use of Tai Sui to bring good luck, by facing in the opposite direction. So if it is your zodiac year , may people will rearrange their furniture.

There is so much superstition I find “interesting”. ¬†I’d rather look at it and see my zodiac year as a lucky year! A blessed year!

Each Chinese zodiac year begins on Chinese New Year’s Day. The date of Chinese New Year is not on January 1st and varies year to year.¬†The Chinese calendar is lunisolar: influenced by the moon and the sun. It is used for the dates of traditional activities in China, East Asia, and many Chinese and East Asian communities around the world.¬†Although China uses the Gregorian calendar for most official and business purposes, the Chinese calendar is still used to determine the days of¬†traditional festivals such as Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn.

The standard public holiday for (Mainland) Chinese is the 7 days from Chinese New Year’s Eve to day 6 of the lunar calendar new year (this year January 27 ‚Äď February 2, 2017). Most of my Chinese friends will go back to work for a few days starting back on February 5th but then be off again for the Lantern Festival. ¬†Traditionally the end of the Spring Festival is The lantern Festival (¬†Chinese month 1 day 15) (February 11, 2017). Beautiful red lanterns are displayed and sweet rice dumplings are¬†eaten.

This post was long, I’m sorry. And much of what I have written may mean nothing to you. HOWEVER, All these things are very special, and one small part of the Chinese culture I love, and don’t want to forget… so I write!

Every year I will celebrate Chinese New Year and Spring Festival with wonderful memories and send greetings and wish my dear friends and family a Happy New year with blessings of prosperity and health in the year ahead!

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Today is another day to celebrate and because it is Chinese New Year, the first meal MUST be Jiaozi!

 

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New Year’s Eve~ Reunion Dinner

It Chinese New Year’s Eve! Time for the Reunion Dinner.

The reunion dinner, also known as Tuan Nian or Wei Lu, marks a family gathering on the Lunar New Year’s Eve and the Chinese consider it to be the most important part of the celebration.

Tuan Nian:
Traditional Chinese: ŚúėŚĻī, Pinyin: tu√°n ni√°n, translated: (re)unite or grouping year; describing the tradition of family gathering at the reunion dinner¬†

Wei Lu:
Traditional Chinese: ŚúćÁąź, Pinyin: w√©il√ļ, literally: to circle around the stove

Normally, the family reunion dinner is especially for those with family members away from home. During the dinner, fish will be served. Dumplings are the most important dish in Northern China. These two dishes signify prosperity. Other dishes are dependent on personal preference. The majority of Chinese will have New Year’s Eve dinner at home instead of a restaurant. Here are a few of the things that will be served during Spring Festival and Reunion Dinners.

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I love this special time and had opportunity to attend two Reunion Dinners in China with our China Family.

One in 2012- Year of the Dragon with Our Driver and his family-

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One in 2014- Year of the Horse with my friend Wei Quan and his family

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I love this picture with “Mama”. I was the first foreigner she met and talked to. She¬†held my hand a lot that day! She was very sick and passed a way just a few months later…dsc03559 dsc03579 dsc03582 dsc03592 dsc03607 dsc03608

It is an honour and privilege to be invited to a Chinese home for the Reunion Dinner. Both of these families, dear friends have become our China family! Such wonderful memories. So the reunion dinner is very special to me.

Today… all morning… I watched the CCTV Gala on TV as well as spent time sending messages, pictures and greetings backhand forth to China.

The CCTV New Year’s Gala,¬†commonly abbreviated in Chinese as Chunwan,¬†¬†is a¬†Chinese New Year’s special produced by China Central Televison.¬† Shown on the eve of Chinese New Year on its flagship CCTV-1 among other stations,¬†the broadcast has a yearly viewership of over 700 million viewers,¬†making it one of the premier television events of China.

The Gala has the¬†largest audience for any entertainment show in the world, ( even greater than Super Bowl,¬†and it has often been described as among “the most watched television program in the world.¬†The special is a variety show,¬†featuring musical, dance, comedy, and drama performances. It has become a ritual for many Chinese families, including overseas Chinese, to tune in to the show on Chinese New Year’s Eve. Many¬†Chunwan¬†performers have emerged as household names in China solely as a result of their recurring appearances on the program. I LOVE it! I am so thankful that it is available here LIVE for the few hours and then when it is finished…CCTV ¬†is not available…haha Oh China!

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Here are a couple videos:

All afternoon I spent cooking and making food.

img_5853 img_5854 img_5867img_5849 img_5856 img_5864Tonight ( even though now it is officially Chinese New Year and not New Year’s Eve in China… BUT still the Eve¬†here, gotta love the time difference lol)…and even though it is just David & I and James, tonight we had¬†¬†a Reunion Dinner. I love any excuse to eat jiaozi!!

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And now to watch a little Kung Fu Panda! haha

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

A¬†new year is¬†the perfect time to move out of your comfort zone and try new recipes and ingredients…NEW HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES!

I have been trying to eat a more “plant based” diet the last few weeks. Not ALL plant based, just MORE. I have been struggling with a few issues, most likely age related. I thought possibly eating more “green” and less “animal” even though I enjoy meat would help. I love food! All kinds of food! Here are a few things, along with the various soups, I have been enjoying…

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Yum! There are just so many fun and delicious things to make.

I was awake super early this morning, actually I didn’t sleep much. Today I went for a CT scan. My doctor and I have tried a few different things for this “reoccurring dizzy” that I seem to get, so we both figured it was time to test further…pray the results come back good! I have to say I was a wee bit nervous going in the scan even though I have used a tanning bed before ( a few people said it’s kinda like that) But I didn’t think it was at all like that. In fact because I only needed my head scanned, my whole body didn’t go in and it was very quick. In and out and finished and a quick walk home ( the hospital is practically in my backyard) before my actual appointment time. Now to wait for the results…

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img_5744And… I also went for my very first “full body massage” today. Sure I’ve had my legs and feet done, also neck and shoulders, but I have never taken the time or booked an “official” appointment for a massage. It’s usually something I decide on a whim when we are vacationing. My son and daughter in law LOVE their regular massage appointments and convinced me that I need to add that to part of my “health care” The problem is…if I enjoy it too much, I don’t know if my husband will be able to afford all the appointments? haha

And as I imagined…it was lovely!!!

Ahh…

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Well, that was my day. This year I need to concentrate on me ( just a bit) get some things changed ( fixed) that need changing! This is part of that commitment!

I hope you’re having a great day! What do you do to look after yourself so you’re healthy?

 

 

Made in China

I often hear people comment about EVERYTHING made in China and sometimes even hear “that crap” comes from China.

I guess I am a little sensitive to comments like that after having lived there. I love China and the culture and people and appreciate so much the labor and skill that goes in to much of what comes from China. There is so much we don’t know or understand.

I regularly get posts and news of artisans making, creating or perfecting their handiwork. There are so many unique things made in China. The Chinese people are VERY talented and highly skilled at what they do!

Here are just a few examples that I’ve enjoyed lately.

Spring Festival is right around the corner and 2017 is the YEAR of the Rooster so many things are rooster themed…

A rooster carving from butter!

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Roosters handprinted on eggs

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Rooster from palm

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16142313_1412036938848119_3179407608588392621_nA rooster in the snow on a football field at a University in Northern China

And then there’s the light festivals that are so elaborate

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And the snow and ice carvings that take weeks to do ( I have seen these in person and it’s amazing)

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How about this art work done with a ball point pen? I LOVE these.

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This is just a small taste…

I am missing China so much these days as I talk to my friends and see these pictures. Spring Festival aka Chinese New Year was one of my MOST favourite times to be there.

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It just keep going around and around…

I think my immune level MUST be low. I am picking up whatever is going… Last week David had a bad cold. Congestion, stuffiness and all that CRUD!! yuck!!

Saturday morning I woke up with that CRUD! Yuck! I can’t be sick again!

This has actually been a great winter for the most part. Different people you talk to say there isn’t the doom and gloom depressing feeling that is usually there in January. I agree!! It’s been great! I have been working on projects, getting them ticked off my list, ¬†and the month of January is flying by….except for everyone you talk to has either been sick with the cold congestion stuff or the flu bug and sick to their stomach. Gee, I will take the cold over stomach flu any day but it’s not fun…I just feel miserable and achy, can’t breath, it affects my “dizzy situation” and I lose my appetite.

My sweet son made me a “tonic” last night! Ginger, Turmeric. cloves, cinnamon, lemon, honey and a bit of Chaga… who knows what else he threw in it!

img_5692It felt nice on my sore throat.

Here’s hoping to a healthy week ahead. Temperature a re a bit milder this morning, I may have to open the windows to chase out the germs. lol

Have a great week friends!