Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chinese New Year!

Last year, as you may recall, I invited my family over for dinner and celebrated the Chinese New Year. We ate dumplings and clear soup, gobbled up a delicious chicken noodle dish (with long noodles, symbolizing long life), and then had sweet almond cookies with hot tea for dessert.

It was such a smashing success that we decided to celebrate again this year. Now, the Chinese New Year isn't officially until Feb. 3 this year. However, that did make it awfully close to the Super Bowl, so we decided to push it back to late January.

We had such fun! I'd really encourage you to try celebrating yourself! Basic decorations can be purchased at most party supply stores, and you can find some really special things at Asian food markets as well. And with quick convenience foods (like the pre-made dumplings at Kroger, that you just steam and serve), it's really easy to put a meal together.

There are all kinds of traditions you can choose to observe, as well. You can check out Wikipedia for ideas. We gave each guest red envelopes stuffed with foil wrapped chocolate coins (to bring both wealth and sweetness in the new year). We also all wore red (to scare away Nien).

What I really like about celebrating Chinese New Year is that it's well past the hustle and bustle of Christmas. No one has any prior time commitments, and we're not madly juggling schedules like we are in the thick of the holiday season. Also, the food is light and healthy. What's wrong with a couple of steamed dumplings, a chicken noodle dish chock full of veggies, and a few cookies with tea? It's practically virtuous. So it just becomes an opportunity for us to get together and enjoy one another.

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