Happy Chinese New Year of the Red Monkey
Happy Chinese New Year of the Red Monkey! May you have health, wealth and wisdom all year long! For the majority of the world, Chinese New Year is like New Year's Day, Rosh Hashanah, Eid, and Christmas combined. It is a time of family, care, giving, and joy. It is a time of rebirth and a time to plant. It is time to thank those who came before us, who paved the path of a better life for us. It is a time to give sweets to children. It is a time respect our elders.
Main Chinese New Year celebrations start on the new moon, February 8, and runs for two weeks to the full moon and Festival of Lights on February 22. Feel free to send me any New Year's wishes, as I am still celebrating!
Here in Nashville, there isn't too much going on to celebrate this world-wide holiday, but I managed to find small but sweet celebrations. The Chinese Arts Alliance of Nashville (CAAN) was founded by Jen-Jen Lin, a woman who wanted to bring Chinese art and culture to Nashville. I got to celebrate the New Year with a traditional Dragon Dance, Lion Dance and various Chinese arts demonstrations. CAAN also sponsors a 10 course Chinese New Year meal every year at a local Chinese Restaurant. This year was at Lucky Bamboo, and the special menu included harmony mixed salad, duck bao, and lucky whole fish.
I also celebrated New Year's Eve weekend with the Chinese Culture and Language group, which is a group of people who enjoy speaking Mandarin and talking about China and Chinese Culture. We went to Lucky Bamboo restaurant for a multi-course chef's choice dinner. We had 2 tables of 10, and each person pays a fixed price (tax, tea and tip included), and Jack, the owner provided a lovely 10 course meal for us. The meal included Hong Kong style roasted duck, crispy shrimp, and "bird's nest" delight. The bird's nest delight is a crispy basket (in the shape of a bird's nest) made of taro strips (a root veggie with a more earthy flavor and sturdier texture than red potatoes), filled with a light seafood and fresh vegetable mixture. Bird's nest delight is one of my favorite dishes of this New Year season.
I also celebrated Chinese New Year with close and new friends at Asian Corner Bistro. My friends and I enjoyed many dishes here too, including handmade dumplings, spicy squid, special spicy pork belly with ginger and garlic, gai lan with oyster sauce, crispy green beans, spicy eggplant, cumin lamb, and crab corn soup. We chatted and talked about our Chinese New Year traditions. My favorite tradition is to do spring cleaning for the week prior to Chinese New Year day. Then on Chinese New Year Day, and for two weeks, there is no house cleaning. It is about spending time with family and loved ones, eating and celebrating, not cleaning and frittering away the time. Yes, that is right folks, I am not cleaning the house for 2 weeks :) Cleaning will resume next week.
One other great thing about Chinese Lunar New Year, is that it is a good time to re-evaluate those Solar New Year, January 1, resolutions. Did they fall off the wagon? Chinese New Year is a perfect time to either say good-bye to resolutions which do not serve you well, or maybe pick up those resolutions that might have gotten lost over the past 6 weeks or so.
No mater how use celebrate Chinese New Year, may your Lunar New Year be filled with happiness, health and prosperity!
Please enjoy some of my photos from Chinese New Year 2016 Year of the Red Monkey!