Wednesday, 18 February 2015

This Thursday is Chinese New Year and the start of the year of the Goat/Sheep (if you were born in 1979, 1991 or 2003, you're a Goat!) My mum is Chinese Malaysian so we always mark the occasion at home in London. I thought it might be fun to share a couple of the traditions we follow.

Reunion Dinner – this special dinner takes place on the eve of Chinese New Year (tonight!), with traditional dishes including dumplings for prosperity, whole fish to symbolise abundance and long noodles for a long life. We usually go out for lobster noodles at the New Mayflower in Chinatown, but this year we're celebrating at home.
Red Packets – you might have seen little rectangular red envelopes decorated with gold if you've ever been around Chinatown at this time of year. It's traditional to gift money to younger relatives in these envelopes. I did a little research and found out that it's lucky to give even amounts of money, but interestingly if you are giving money to a couple on their wedding day, it's favourable to give an odd number as it can't be easily divided, symbolising a strong union! To 'earn' our red packets, we brew and present tea to my mum and dad. You have to take the envelope with both hands and it's very rude to open it in front of the giver!
Spring Cleaning - my mum cleans the house from top to bottom, making sure to do all those annoying jobs that sometimes get overlooked. Apart from the fact it's common sense to start the new year with a fresh, clean house (something I never think to do on December 31st!), it also symbolises getting rid of any lingering bad luck from the previous year.


  1. That's me 1991 baby! I've been reading about it all (despite the fact I already knew I was of the goat/sheep year) and the western zodiac sign comparative to the sheep is cancer... which I am also, with my birthday in July! It's all very fascinating x

    1. Double win! I'm a total sucker for anything zodiac-related!

  2. AAAH i love this!! One couple who came to our wedding are from Australia - she is Chinese and they gave us a red envelope of money - I remember thinking that it was an odd amount- and so lovely to know that's why it was odd! LOVE learning about these things!