Happy Lunar New Year!
Today’s post is close to my heart. Lunar New Year is a holiday that is one of my favorites because it revolves around food. This post will not be your regular recipe post like we usually do, but it is about celebrating one of my favorite holidays: Lunar New Year. I have a few suggestions on celebrating and what you can do to support the AAPI community.
What is Lunar New Year?
Lunar New Year is one of the most important celebrations of the year among East and Southeast Asian cultures, including Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean communities. In 2022, Lunar New Year begins on February 1 and lasts multiple days of the Gregorian Calendar year. It’s the year of the Tiger!
What are some ways to honor and celebrate this holiday?
There are many ways to celebrate because it’s week-long and celebrations can last up to 16 days! It’s essential to do some of your digging about cultural appreciation vs. appropriation; you feel me? Since you follow Asian women that run a food and drink blog and celebrating, you probably don’t have that problem. Still, I urge you to explore and follow your curiosity around learning about other cultures anyway because it’s super fun and exciting, and the world could use more of that. Onward!
Chinese cuisine is VAST and delicious. While I’m culturally Laotion, my family descends from a particular group that immigrated from China to Laos and shared customs, traditions, and best of all, food. Each family has its practices, but certain foods are eaten during this time that symbolizes embodying good fortune throughout the coming year, like:
- Fish for increased prosperity. Typically it’s prepared whole, steamed, and loaded with fresh herbs and veggies. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
- Dumplings for wealth. Come on; they are little purses filled with goodness! Supposedly their round, half-moon shapes are fashioned after Chinese silver ingots. They say the more you eat during the holiday, the more wealth you’ll acquire. BRB, I’m going to go stuff myself with money, I mean dumplings.
- Fried spring rolls are for wealth. These delicious babies look like gold bars and taste like 1 million bucks. My brother says that if you don’t like eggrolls, then you’re a monster. Don’t be a monster on Lunar New Year. Eat some rolls, babe.
- Nian Gao or Glutinous Rice Cake is for a higher income or position. This sweet treat is going to land you your new promotion, and its main ingredients are sticky rice, sugar, chestnuts, Chinese dates, and lotus leaves.
- Tangyuan or Sweet Rice balls are for family togetherness. These are usually eaten during the Lantern Festival and South China’s spring celebrations.
- Longevity noodles are for…you guessed it…longevity. The length of the noodles and the uncut process of making them symbolize a wish for long life. These are my favorite because you all know I love noodles! Along with dumplings, some families have made their longevity noodles.
- Good Fortune Fruit for fullness and wealth. Pomelos and other citrus-like tangerines and oranges are considered good fortune fruit. They’re round, complete, and golden!
Give Money to Children!
I have fond memories of receiving a lucky red envelope from my elders for special occasions. It was their way of blessing us with good fortune and transferring good luck. Learn more about this tradition here.
If you didn’t quite settle into your new habits for the year, you could try again starting today. I am also the kind of person who considers their birthday the new year, so don’t feel like you have to be a completely new version of yourself by now! Start small and have fun! There are so many opportunities to get restarted.
Check your horoscope!
Chinese Astrology is a friggin’ whole other ball game if you are into that sort of thing. Spoiler alert: I am! ??♀️. I love going to the Chinese New Year’s Website and checking my zodiac. This is also a great resource to learn more about Lunar New Year.
Enjoy Asian Art.
Find out if your local museum has an Asian art wing or a local garden where you can explore Asian Artistry. We have the wonderful Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland that hosts its own Chinese New Year celebration. If going in person is hard, some museums have virtual tours and online collections like the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. You can also enjoy contemporary Asian art and culture at home via streaming! Netflix has a curated collection of New Year content here.
Support AAPI business owners and creators.
Hey, hey, you are already doing so by being on our blog. Please share this post, comment with your traditions or any traditions you want to try and like, and follow us on Instagram. Also, find any local AAPI business owners and creators in your area or lift any on social media today. Here are some of our favorite creators and businesses:
- Fly by Jing
- The Korean Vegan
- Nom Nom Paleo
- A Great list by Kessler Ramirez of AAPI Creators to follow
- A Roundup on Buzzfeed of AAPI Small Businesses
Donate to Stop Asian Hate.
It’s been a scary time for all of us and especially a vulnerable time for the AAPI Community. If you can, check out Stop Asian Hate to donate and learn more about how to help. Your generous heart is worth celebrating.
How will you be celebrating the holiday this year? Tell us in the comments below because we’d love to know about your traditions and what you love about Lunar New Year too!
Happy New Year, babe!