The big day has come. Today is the first day of the 2015 Chinese New Year.
It is a new moon day, the first day of the first Chinese lunar month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar. It uses stem and branch to count the days. The branches are represented by 12 animals which form the Chinese Zodiac. They are rat, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. For this 4712th Chinese year, it is the year of goat.
Although Lund does not provide a special touch of cosmopolitan modern flair, we can still enjoy the height of the festival by doing it yourselves, and immerse ourselves in this festive season.
What can be eaten?
If you are in search of an orthodox Chinese restaurant around Lund to celebrate Chinese New Year, you are advised to cook it yourselves. Consider the fun you are going to have with your family and friends, cooking is the best choice you can opt for.
On the first few days of Chinese New Year, families usually have tulip cake (literal translation: Lo Bak Go蘿蔔糕) for breakfast. It is believed that eating this savory cake brings you good luck. Since the pronunciation of ‘cake’ is the same to ‘height’ in Cantonese, by eating the cake, people believe kids will grow taller and taller; business sales and even your savings will be more and more.
How to make it?
The process is not complicated at all. All you need are white radish, white rice flour, some Chinese mushrooms, sausages and dried shrimps. Here are the simple steps you can follow to make the mouthwatering cake.
1. Peel and grate turnips. Simmer in 1 cup water until it gets softer.
2. Mix rice flour and turnips in bowl until the texture gets thick. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and mix them well.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in wok. Stir-fry mushrooms, shrimps and sausages and add to the turnip mixture prepared earlier.
4. Add salt, sugar, and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
5. Grease a cake pan. Pour mixture into it. Place on a rack in a steamer. Steam over briskly boiling water 1 hour.
6. Refrigerate it overnight
7. When you are ready to eat it, fry the slices with 1 tablespoon of oil until the colour turns into golden brown.
Not only can you enjoy the cake, you can also take this great opportunity to reunion with your family and friends. ‘Reunion’ is a crucial activity for a family in Chinese New Year; it connotes the entire family being intact and safe.
What else can be done?
There are indeed many traditions to follow; at the same time, many taboos we have to avoid.
For examples, the third day of Chinese New Year, 21 Feb 2015, is called ‘day of red mouth’, it is considered as an ominous day.
People believe it is easier to get into quarrels with others on this day. Therefore, they usually stay at home on this day.
Last but not least – do not wash your hair on Chinese New Year day. You will wash away all your luck for this year if you do so.
Smile and embrace the luck which Chinese New Year brings!