Celebrating Chinese New Year

Hi, my name is Dawn! I was born and raised in Hong Kong and moved to the UK when I was 16.

With my parents being thousands of miles away, nice home-cooked Chinese food became very rarely available to me. This is what prompted me to get into cooking. I first learnt how to cook properly when I was at uni, through watching lots of YouTube videos and reading online recipes. During the first lockdown I decided to open an Instagram account @dawnscookingdiary to share my love for Chinese food and occasionally share some recipes. Feel free to go check it out for some food inspirations!

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Chinese New Year has always been a big part of my life growing up as it is the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The festival celebrates the beginning of a new lunar year and can last for up to 16 days. In Hong Kong, only the first three days are usually celebrated. During those days, friends and family gather together, eat lots of food, enjoy fireworks, wear celebratory clothing and hang red decorations around the house to mark the occasion. It is also a time to honour deities and ancestors. It is traditional for families to thoroughly clean their homes on Chinese New Year Eve, in order to sweep away ill fortune and to welcome good luck.

How to make your own gyoza

Sweet and sour chicken receipe

Fun fact: Showering isn’t allowed on New Year’s Day as it is seen as washing away the good luck! Saying unlucky words such as ‘Death’ and ‘Sickness’ is also forbidden!

Growing up, one of my favourite parts of Chinese New Year is being able to see family as well as – receiving Red Packets, also known as ‘Lai See’. These are red envelopes filled with money and are traditional gifts to children from elders, symbolising transferring fortune and blessings to the kids. The delicious food we eat during Chinese New Year is also something I always look forward to. They often have special meaning and have puns in the names! For example: ‘Tong Yun’ is a dessert which literally means ‘soup balls’, but it sounds like ‘Tun Yun’ which means reunion.

2021 is the year of the Ox, people previously born in that lunar year are often strong, reliable, fair and calm. Another fun fact: If it is the year of your zodiac sign, that typically means it might be a year of bad luck for you. So if that’s you this year, make sure you wear lots of red for protection!

Gong Hei Fat Choi! (Wishing you great fortune!)

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