Chinese New Year of the Horse
Happy Chinese New Year!
January 31, 2014, marks the start of the year of the Wooden Horse.
According to the Chinese horoscope, people born in the year of the horse are clever, kind, animated and energetic.
Although they sometimes talk too much, they are cheerful, perceptive, talented and love to be the centre of attentioni in a crowd. Maybe that's why they talk too much. To be noticed?
They are popular among friends, active at work and have a great sense of humour.
Wood horses work hard and are succesful in their careers and life.
Recommended careers for horsey people are publicist, sales representative, journalist, language instructor, translator, bartender, performer, tour operator, librarian or pilot.
Famous horses include Margaret Court, Robyn Nevin, Dorothy Porter, Helen Reddy, Sir Isaac Newton, Barbara Streisand, Cindy Crawford, Jerry Seinfeld, John Travolta, Leonard Bernstein, Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Rembrandt and Genghis Khan.
Chinese New Year traditions
Clean your house from top to bottom and pay off all debts before New Year. I'm sure your bank manager will be very happy!
Decorate your home to welcome in the New Year. Red is a popular colour as it scares away evil spirits and bad fortune.
Wear new clothes and ensure you are polite to others on the first day of the New Year – it sets the tone for the year to come. It's a good idea to be polite every day, not just at New Year, as my grandmother said to me.
Celebrate New Year with a family dinner. Traditional dishes include uncut noodles – a symbol of longevity – and prawns, fish, pork and chicken, symbols of prosperity.
Refrain from uttering words relating to misfortune, such as ‘death’, ‘broken’, ‘killing’, ‘ghost’ and ‘illness’ during New Year as this may bring bad luck for the year to come.
Make sure the barrel of rice is full at New Year to ensure prosperity in the year to come. I must get another bag of rice the next time I go shopping!
Give younger members of the family red hong bao envelopes to pass on prosperity.
The 12 animal signs in the Chinese zodiac are known to the Chinese as the Twelve Earthly Stems.
Some say the Chinese zodiac animals derive from an ancient legend of Buddha inviting all the animals to his deathbed.
The first 12 were given a place in the calendar. The Rat won by riding on the Ox’s back and the Pig came last because he stopped to have a meal.
Are you a charming Snake, a witty Monkey or maybe a friendly Rabbit? Find out what Chinese zodiac animal you are and see what characteristics your sign gives you.
Chinese zodiac signs
intellectual, imaginative, charming
honest, motivated, genuine
brave, unpredictable, resilient
friendly, talented, calm
innovative, self-assured, passionate
wise, intuitive, charming
friendly, positive, sophisticated
artistic, elegant, kind
witty, clever, resourceful
hard-working, courageous, romantic
loyal, compassionate, honest
reliable, generous, devoted
A most important part of any Chinese celebration is feasting.
Try this recipe for San Choy Bau or lettuce cups from Australian Pork.
Why not send in your own favourite Chinese New Year recipe to share with readers of www.awokonthewildside.com?
San Choy Bau
Serves 4-6, depending on how hungry you are.
1 tbsp oil
500g lean pork mince
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger, finely grated
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
220g can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
3 spring onions, finely chopped
1 cup bean sprouts
10 - 12 large lettuce leaves, trimmed (Iceberg or Butter)
roasted peanuts and fried shallots.
1. Heat oil in a wok or frying pan and brown the pork, garlic and ginger for 3 - 4 minutes.
2. Stir in the oyster sauce, soy sauce, water chestnuts and simmer, stirring for 2 minutes.
3. Trim the lettuce leaves into cups.
4. Stir in the spring onions and bean sprouts.
5. Spoon pork mixture in the lettuce cups and garnish with chopped peanuts and fried shallots.
Notes: san choy bau is also delicious flavoured with plum and hoisin sauce.