You thought this month was going to be all Valentine’s Day? Well, no, because today my wonderful friend came over and brought her Chinese heritage with her to help us ready our house for the Chinese New Year!
The first thing we did was to make Pearl Balls – which are essentially ground pork mixed with fresh water chestnuts (the fresh ones are a different creature than those things in a can!), scallions, soy sauce, kosher salt, ginger and garlic – made into balls and rolled in gelatinous rice. Then you steam them in one of those tiered bamboo steamers over a wok for about an hour and half. You dip them in a dipping sauce made from soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, hot chili pepper sesame oil and ginger, garlic and scallions and eat them with your chopsticks! Yum!
Whilst those were steaming, we were busy writing Chinese characters for good luck on red construction paper to put on our front door, listening to my friend count from one to 10 in Mandarin, hearing a story about the Kitchen God, and then making these sweet little Chinese tissue paper crafts…. We also had a great time looking up what year everyone was born and what animal that corresponded to on the Chinese Zodiac and such. Good times!
Other traditions my friend passed on to me, is that the traditional meal on Chinese New Year’s consists of having foods that are as whole as possible (for example, a whole fish steamed in the bamboo steamer with the head and tail on; you can use your chopsticks to poke around and eat it); having noodles for long life and health; not sweeping or cleaning anything on the Chinese New Year (because you don’t want to sweep your good luck or good fortune out the door as well!); having your children stay up as late as possible on the night before Chinese New Year because this ensures the parents will live a long life; and making lots of noise on the Chinese New Year to scare any evil spirits away. What fabulous traditions and what fun to sit around and talk about!
Here are a few books that may be of assistance to you as you plan your own Chinese New Year’s celebration:
For more from a Waldorf point of view, please see over at Our Little Nature Nest here: http://naturenest.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/songs-on-sunday-gung-hay-fat-choy-happy-chinese-new-year/
Please leave your favorite Chinese New Year’s tradition in the comment box below!