Chinese New year
At Caramel we are fortunate enough to be part of a community which is truly global. Many among us will be celebrating Chinese New Year which starts on Tuesday 1st February. It is a national holiday celebrated in South Korea, China, Hong Kong Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia and is also referred to as the Spring festival announcing the start of spring.
2022 is the year of the Tiger, one of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals. Those born in the year of the Tiger are thought to be brave, competitive, unpredictable and confident. Homes are decorated with flowers and paper decorations stating wishes of prosperity, good luck, happiness, good fortune, wealth, and longevity for the coming year. Decorations of the incoming zodiac animal are also displayed. Red and gold are very popular colours to decorate with. Red represents vitality (and scares away beasts) while gold is symbolic of prosperity and good fortune.
One very important tradition is exchanging gifts. A traditional gift that is given is small red envelopes, packets filled with "lucky money". These envelopes are given to children by their family and friends and these envelopes symbolize the giving of good fortune. The Chinese believe that as they enter a new year, they should leave behind all things of the past. They clean their houses, they buy new clothes and shoes (no surprises that red and gold feature heavily here) and even new sets of underwear. It is not uncommon to paint their doors and window panes too. They even get new haircuts – all activities which symbolise new life and new beginnings.
Even with the advent of vacuum cleaners, die-hard traditionalists will do a token sweeping away of any bad luck. As with every special Chinese occasion, food is integral to celebrating. Sweets, pastries and fruit are served abundantly: One sweet might confer happiness, another long life, good health or fertility. A Chinese New Year celebration would not be complete without fireworks (don’t forget gun powder was invented in China). Why? According to folklore, the noise is said to wake up the dragon who flies across the sky to bring spring rain for the crops. Another thought is that noisy fireworks would ward away evil spirits. However you choose to celebrate Chinese new year: with a fortune cookie, duck pancakes or outfits with the wow factor, we wish you Kung Hei Fat choi.