Even though most of the western culture uses the Gregorian calendar there are other cultures like the ancient Egyptians, who used the Venus calendar. The Koreans and Chinese use the lunar calendar, accordingly their New Year will be celebrated on January 31st; it is the year of the Horse! If you were born in the years 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930, 1918, this is your sign.
One thing is for sure, it doesn’t matter when you celebrate the New Year, all of us seem to have special celebrations and traditions.
There are foods associated with New Years, and these dishes all have something in common, whatever calendar you celebrate. The ingredients symbolize good wishes including health, wealth, happiness and closeness of family. In China, sweets, tangerines and oranges on your table represent a sweet life and bring wealth and luck.
In Korea the traditional dish on New Year’s Day is rice cake soup. This dish represents a few things: a clean new start for the New Year, good health, long life and a good harvest. In Korea everyone celebrates their birthday on New Year’s Day and to honor birthdays everyone eats a bowl of rice cake soup. The white rice cakes are made from non-glutinous rice, have no taste and pick up whatever flavors you are cooking with—the white color of the rice cake signifies purity. Eating a bowl of this treasured soup represents maturity, because you are a year older.
In China, there are lots of restrictions when cooking for New Years:
• No use of knives or cleavers since they bring bad luck and sever the family’s fortune;
• No cutting of noodles or vegetables ensures a long life; and
• Serving fish whole with tail and head intact signifies good beginnings/endings for the New Year and also avoids bad luck.
In Korea, New Year’s Day is considered more of a family holiday, everyone returns home to visit parents and family elders. The family dresses in colorful traditional outfits and celebrates Sebae, which consists of the children wishing elders a Happy New Year and performing a deep bow; in return the parents/elders reward them with paper money in luck bags.
Looking to do something fun with your family? Try one of our culinary tours! Reach us at 610-506-6120 or learn more about private tours.
Happy New Year!