Thursday, February 24, 2011

Get out of my WOMB!

It's been a while since I've posted  - mostly due to health reasons but the past couple of months a number of issues have cropped up that have pushed me out of my cocoon of self absorbed introspection.

While I was attempting to heal my body someone declared war on my sex....
Things like this (see URLS below) have been popping up all over the net and I find it disgusting and frightening.

I think it's time for women to stop being nice and start being heard.
We make up more than half of the world's population but control only a tiny fraction of it's wealth. We work, we pay taxes.....why are we considered to be less than our brothers?

I think it's time for a bit of peaceful revolution.
Men haven't been doing a good job running things maybe it's time we took over.

Or at the very least maybe it's time we stood up and took back the rights that are being pulled away from us.
Brave women stood together and fought for us to be heard as valid voices ....I think it's time to remind the boys that we're here and that we are their equals.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I may have a new favorite musical...

Spring Awakening

Like Rent it's pretty Avenue Q it's a bit explicit .... It's got's got great music and it deals with some very intense issues.

It can be sweetly poignant 

It can be ....rock hard (yes...that was intentional)

If you've never heard the music give it a listen ...if it comes to your all means buy a ticket! You'll enjoy it it will make you think.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year...and Happy Valentine's Day!

The Chinese celebrate the New Year right..its a multi day celebration. 2010 is the Year of the Metal Tiger
See all the nifty info below about Chinese New Year and  The Year of the Metal Tiger.

2010: Chinese Year of the Metal Tiger
A Year of the Time to Dispel the Old False Ways

Welcome to the Chinese year of the Tiger. Each February marks the beginning the traditional Chinese calendar year. Because of the size of their population this calendar is probably the most followed in the world. The New Year in 2010 formally commences on Sunday, 14th February and begins the new Zodiac animal cycle, the Year of the Tiger. Chinese tradition employs both Solar and Lunar calendars. Using the Solar calendar, it's 5th February, but the New Moon day of 14th February marks the official Lunar New Year celebration day, when the dragons and fireworks come out into the streets of Chinatown.
2009 was the Year of the Earth Ox, and what a challenging year it was. Now in the cycle of the twelve comes the passionate king of the animals, the fierce Tiger. He is undisputed king and loves his role as a leader. The Tiger is loyal, generous and courageous. The Tiger is of the eastern direction and, in Chinese astrology, he represents protection. He is the one who looks after small children, protecting them from evil spirits. The Tiger is instinctively loyal and very honourable; he bristles with indignation when faced with treachery or falseness. Being born in the year of the Tiger signifies luck and protection and it's said that you cannot die through the bad deeds of your enemies.

The Tiger year is going to be the time to attack the most difficult issues you face. You have one of your best chances of achieving a breakthrough. If you still run into stiff opposition, you would do well to consider postponing your attempt to a later time, as the same force that propels you forward is also helping those who oppose your efforts.
Calculate Your Chinese Zodiac Animal
Enter your birth year. For example: "1975"

Please bear in mind that the Chinese year begins in February
Tiger Qualities and Mythology
The Chinese story of the Tiger is a useful tool for finding insights into this year ahead. When the Buddha called the 12 animals together to rule the years, the Tiger was the second one to come forward. He came forward with the grace and full force of his primal energy. The quality of the Tiger year is like this. The Tiger will draw energies to it—and is alert to people's moods, changes and emotions.
Tiger people always give the impression they are fully present and ready to move. They are like a coiled spring, but lying gracefully at ease. Their principal qualities are loyalty and enthusiasm. They can also be impulsive, tough, excessive and selfish. Their approach to their work is usually brilliant, and to be at their best they need to be in charge. Their finest role is as a saviour for their country, or as a monarch or president. Tigers must be in charge. With money they can be spendthrifts, but are always ready to take risks, because they feel lucky with money. The Tiger is also predisposed to danger and so has a tendency to want to take risks, both moral and physical.

The life of a Tiger person is often adventurous, sometimes dangerous, and probably never really calm. Tigers are active and prowl through their lives. They are open-minded, tolerant and generous. They can be hard on themselves and too demanding on their friends, which be tough, as they always seem so admirable. To control their passions is the most important thing for a Tiger. If they can do this, they are capable of giving wise and sensible advice.
A Tiger finds pleasure in the unpredictable, and while others prefer not to make a backward step, the Tiger is not afraid to explore the unusual. What Tigers really need is first-hand experience. They are usually open and frank, but, if they withdraw, can be aggressive when trapped. As soon as the Tiger person has regained a sense of security, the confidence also returns, enabling them to set out again. They trust their instincts, though there is also another side to their personality, which assesses situations thoughtfully before launching into any action.
Tigers need space to express themselves and a Tiger locked up will mean all their best qualities are reduced down to little. They can then become aggressive, quarrelsome and suffer tension—becoming stubborn, they then blame the rest of the world for their problems.
When A Tiger's In Love
Impetuous and passionate, they are likely to test out their powers of seduction from a very early age. Since they don't enjoy the authoritarian roles in the family, they are eager to escape as they grow up. This can mean they seek out marriage at an early age, as a way to escape the family routines and look for new adventure. Tigers can become easily bored; if their love is not returned passionately, they tend to seek another passion elsewhere. Tigers are capable of great love, but they may also become too intense about it. Sometimes they become territorial and possessive. If your friend or partner is a Tiger and wants you to take their side, you'd best do it! As lovers, Tiger people are romantic, but the real challenge for them is to grasp the true meaning of moderation.

Tigers are often attracted by people with an independent character, but it's important to remember that, even if you are stimulated by a Tiger's company and admire their energy, you can still manage without them. The Tiger person needs a partner who remains steady and constant and quietly pursues their own plans. In the family, naturally the Tiger will consider it normal to be in charge. Male Tigers prefer a partner who can manage the household calmly and well. Female Tigers will either pursue a career for personal success and independence, or play the role of exemplary spouse and perfect housekeeper. As parents, Tigers will teach their children prudence, reflection and reason—but, seriously, they don't believe it and don't do it themselves. A disciplined Tiger, however, can be a great influence on the children and lead them on an exciting life.
Chinese Year of the Tiger
The Tiger Career
What type of occupations suit the Tiger?

They'd be good at the following:
  • entrepreneur
  • military officer
  • politician
  • musician
  • writer
  • poet
  • designer
  • theatre director
  • stockbroker
  • athlete
  • film star
  • trade union leader
  • company director
  • stunt person
  • explorer
  • or teacher.
Celebrity Tigers
Famous people born in the Year of the Tiger:
  • Musicians and composers: Beethoven, Paganini
  • Politicians and leaders: Charles De Gaulle, Pres. Eisenhower, Queen Elizabeth II, Ho Chi Minh, Louis XIV, Mary Stuart, Sun Yat-sen, Molotov
  • Writers: Emily Bronte, Dylan Thomas, Karl Marx, Harold Steinbeck, H.G.Wells, Oscar Wilde, Agatha Christie, Emily Dickinson, Frederick Forsyth, Beatrix Potter
  • Actors and singers: Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jon Bon Jovi, Stevie Wonder, Jodie Foster, Sir Alec Guiness, William Hurt, Marilyn Monroe, Demi Moore, Diana Rigg, Lionel Ritchie, Kenny Rogers, Roberta Flack, Natalie Wood, Tom Berenger; Dancers: Isadora Duncan
  • Entrepreneurs and personalities: Sir David Attenborough, Hugh Hefner (Playboy magazine), Richard Branson (Virgin Airlines), Paul Watson (Capt. of the Ady Gil, the Sea Shepherd anti-whaling boat).
What is this Tiger Year all about?
The year is always made up of two parts: the Chinese Animal sign and the year element. The Year of the Tiger is made up of two elements, with Yang Metal element sitting on top of Yang Wood (Yang is more active and outgoing). Each year has an Animal sign, which is ruled by one of the Five Elements—Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. According to the Chinese cycle of birth and destruction governing that relationship between the five elements, Metal is the destroyer of Wood, and so they act out a destructive pattern and will be in conflict together—a bit like the chainsaw (metal) cuts down the soft tree (wood). This means the year 2010 won't be a peaceful one, with more international conflicts likely in the next 12 months. The Yang Metal element on top is cutting Metal, which is symbolised by a sword or knife. This element is associated with masculine power. And the Tiger sign underneath is actually matching it with fierce strength, the passionate tiger. The conflict will also mean the environment is a huge issue, with destruction of forests a big focus, as well as new movements to save the planet.
Tiger belongs to the Wood element, representing early spring when trees and plants are growing and sprouting. The Tiger contains the inner Fire; in February, it's considered the birth month of the Fire element. So, inside the Tiger is a powerful hidden Fire energy. History shows the Tiger year to be associated with atomic/ nuclear energy. The last Metal Tiger year of 1950 saw a race between the USA and USSR to develop more atomic bombs. It was also a year of accidents related to nuclear weapons. In February 1950, a Tiger month in a Tiger year, Albert Einstein warned that nuclear war could lead to our mutual destruction. And in February the US Air force lost a bomber with an atomic bomb off the Canadian coast. In November 1950, another US Air Force bomber jettisoned a nuclear weapon over Quebec. And in March, the USSR proclaimed her first atomic bomb. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred in the Tiger year of 1986. A Metal Tiger year shows a strong focus on nuclear safety and may even trigger nuclear accidents. The danger of nuclear weapons in North Korea, Iran, Israel and other countries, such as Pakistan and India, will be a major issue in 2010. Natural disasters with fire, such as forest fires and volcanic eruptions, are also very possible this year.
Other events from 1950:
  • The Chinese Communist forces invaded and occupied Tibet.
  • Senator Joseph McCarthy told the US President publicly that the State Dept. was riddled with communist sympathisers—and the McCarthy era began.
  • President Truman instructed the US Atomic Energy Commission to develop a hydrogen bomb.
  • North Korea invaded South Korea and UN forces landed in South Korea to recapture Seoul, then China

    invaded Korea to push out UN Forces.
  • Albert Einstein developed his General Field Theory in an attempt to expand the Theory of Relativity.
  • And the number of TV sets in the USA went from 1.5 million to 15 million in that year.
All these show clear lessons from the past on the power of Yang Metal. Previous Tiger years were 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, and 1998.
Both Tiger and Monkey are called Travelling Stars in Chinese astrology, so their clash can bring serious traffic accidents, especially with cars. People born in a Monkey year have to be very careful in 2010. As Metal and Wood clash, the danger could be with buses, vans, cars, and machinery. People with this element-clash need to take extra care when driving and travelling.
The combination of Metal and Wood (Tiger), however, is not always a completely negative one. Together they represent the kind of forces necessary to succeed with very difficult tasks. The impossible just might be possible during this challenging year. Things that have needed to be done will be done, or at least we'll see significant progress being made. On the other hand, some that probably should never ever be attempted will also go to completion. This is because the Metal Tiger is also associated with the lemming mentality: once a group of lemmings begins moving across the fields, they charge on and unthinkingly run straight over a cliff to their deaths.
This is, then, a time to attack the most difficult issues you face, as it gives you one of your best chances of achieving your breakthroughs. On the other hand, if you run into stiff opposition, you would do well to consider putting it off to a later time. The same Tiger force that propels you forward is also aiding those opposing your efforts. Brave planners could prosper, but lemmings might just lose it all.

The basic five Chinese elements represent different parts of the body. Metal relates to the skin, nose, body hair, mucus and the lungs. Health problems in a Metal year can be breathing problems through influenza. Yang Metal is associated with the large intestine, so there are increased possibilities of colon cancer, food poisoning or diarrhoea. The Wood of Tiger involves both elements of Wood and Fire. Wood rules the liver and gall bladder and the Tiger, Monkey and Snake, generating Fire, can cause burning, heart and blood diseases, or inflammations. Any disorder in your Fire elements can bring heart or blood problems and in turn inflammation and possibly cancer. These health issues come into focus in 2010. It's important to look at your antioxidant intakes this year. In 2010, Metal sitting over Wood indicates a weakness, so the year is not favourable for people with weak or challenged immune systems. Metal rules lungs, breathing and skin, so problems with poor air quality, allergies
and influenza will be serious in 2010.

Metal also rules the archetype of the alchemist and of rituals, so this is a year to transmute through the use of a ritualistic, ceremonial approach to your life. You could just transmute all the illnesses possible in 2010, or you could join a group that uses natural, religious or earth-based ritual to transform your environment and life. It's the year to attend Mother Earth rituals!
Economic Trends
The Metal element of 2010 brings prosperity to Fire industries and productivity to Earth industries. The Fire industries include finance, entertainment and energy. A Metal year will bring activities to the Earth industries, which include property, hotel, mining, and insurance. Metal industries are banking, machinery, high tech, and cars, so they'll do okay. The industry which is not that favoured is Wood. This includes seedlings, forestry, furniture, avant-garde fashion, textile, paper, media, newspaper and magazines. Since this year's governing force is Earth, real estate becomes the key factor for economic recovery. There will also be breakthroughs in the energy sector. The key areas will be wind, solar, earth and micro-electronics. Energy is an important business this year. Wind turbines will become more and more popular. We might see them, not just on mountains, but also on coasts. Solar energy would become very useful in places with more sunlight, such as deserts. New houses will be built to store or extract heat from the ground. Lighting will advance with powerful energy savers, like the new generation LED's. More breakthroughs in stem-cell research are on the way, shedding light on curing chronic and terminal illnesses. More problems may surface concerning pharmaceutical drugs. Food businesses will do well too, but beware of new food poisoning problems.

Taboos and Superstitions of Chinese New Year

House Cleaning
The entire house should be cleaned before New Year's Day. On New Year's Eve, all brooms, brushes, dusters, dust pans and other cleaning equipment are put away. Sweeping or dusting should not be done on New Year's Day for fear that good fortune will be swept away. After New Year's Day, the floors may be swept. Beginning at the door, the dust and rubbish are swept to the middle of the parlor, then placed in the corners and not taken or thrown out until the fifth day. At no time should the rubbish in the corners be trampled upon. In sweeping, there is a superstition that if you sweep the dirt out over the threshold, you will sweep one of the family away. Also, to sweep the dust and dirt out of your house by the front entrance is to sweep away the good fortune of the family; it must always be swept inwards and then carried out, then no harm will follow. All dirt and rubbish must be taken out the back door.

Bringing In the New Year and
Expelling the Old
Shooting off firecrackers on New Year's Eve is the Chinese way of sending out the old year and welcoming in the New Year. On the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, every door in the house, and even windows, have to be open to allow the old year to go out.

New Year Activities Set Precendent
All debts had to paid by this time. Nothing should be lent on this day, as anyone who does so will be lending all the year. Back when tinder and flint were used, no one would lend them on this day or give a light to others.
Everyone should refrain from using foul language and bad or unlucky words. Negative terms and the word "four" (Ssu), which sounds like the word for death, are not to be uttered. Death and dying are never mentioned and ghost stories are totally taboo. References to the past year are also avoided as everything should be turned toward the New Year and a new beginning.
If you cry on New Year's day, you will cry all through the year. Therefore, children are tolerated and are not spanked, even though they are mischievous.

Personal Appearance and Cleanliness
On New Year's Day, we are not suppose to wash our hair because it would mean we would have washed away good luck for the New Year. Red clothing is preferred during this festive occasion. Red is considered a bright, happy color, sure to bring the wearer a sunny and bright future. It is believed that appearance and attitude during New Year's sets the tone for the rest of the year. Children and unmarried friends, as well as close relatives are given lai see, little red envelopes with crisp one dollar bills inserted, for good fortune.
More New Year Superstitions
For those most superstitious, before leaving the house to call on others, the Almanac should be consulted to find the best time to leave the home and the direction which is most auspicious to head out.
The first person one meets and the first words heard are significant as to what the fortunes would be for the entire year. It is a lucky sign to see or hear songbirds or red-colored birds or swallows.
It is considered unlucky to greet anyone in their bedroom so that is why everyone, even the sick, should get dressed and sit in the living room.
Do not use knives or scissors on New Year's Day as this may cut off fortune.
While many Chinese people today may not believe in these do's and don'ts, these traditions and customs are still practiced. These traditions and customs are kept because most families realize that it is these very traditions, whether believed or not, that provide continuity with the past and provide the family with an identity. 

First day

The first day is for the welcoming of the deities of the heavens and earth, officially beginning at midnight. Many people, especially Buddhists, abstain from meat consumption on the first day because it is believed that this will ensure longevity for them. Some consider lighting fires and using knives to be bad luck on New Year's Day, so all food to be consumed is cooked the day before. For Buddhists, the first day is also the birthday of Maitreya Bodhisattva (better known as the more familiar Budai Luohan), the Buddha-to-be. People also abstain from killing animals.
Most importantly, the first day of Chinese New Year is a time when families visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended family, usually their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents.
Some families may invite a lion dance troupe as a symbolic ritual to usher in the Lunar New Year as well as to evict bad spirits from the premises. Members of the family who are married also give red packets containing cash to junior members of the family, mostly children and teenagers. Business managers also give bonuses through red packets to employees for good luck and wealth.
While fireworks and firecrackers are traditionally very popular, some regions have banned them due to concerns over fire hazards, which have resulted in increased number of fires around New Years and challenged municipal fire departments' work capacity. For this reason, various city governments (e.g., Hong Kong, and Beijing, for a number of years) issued bans over fireworks and firecrackers in certain premises of the city. As a substitute, large-scale fireworks have been launched by governments in cities like Hong Kong to offer citizens the experience.

Second day

Incense is burned at the graves of ancestors as part of the offering and prayer ritual.
The second day of the Chinese New Year is for married daughters to visit their birth parents. Traditionally, daughters who have been married may not have the opportunity to visit their birth families frequently.
On the second day, the Chinese pray to their ancestors as well as to all the gods. They are extra kind to dogs and feed them well as it is believed that the second day is the birthday of all dogs.
Business people of the Cantonese dialect group will hold a 'Hoi Nin' prayer to start their business on the 2nd day of Chinese New Year. The prayer is done to pray that they will be blessed with good luck and prosperity in their business for the year.

Third and fourth days

The third and fourth day of the Chinese New Year are generally accepted as inappropriate days to visit relatives and friends due to the following schools of thought. People may subscribe to one or both thoughts.
1) It is known as "chì kǒu" (赤口), meaning that it is easy to get into arguments. It is suggested that the cause could be the fried food, exhaustion from preparation and visitations during the first two days of the New Year celebration.[citation needed]
2) Families who had an immediate kin deceased in the past 3 years will not go house-visiting as a form of respect to the dead, but people may visit them on this day. Some people then conclude that it is inauspicious to do any house visiting at all. The third day of the New Year is allocated to grave-visiting instead.

Fifth day

In northern China, people eat jiǎo zi (simplified Chinese: 饺子traditional Chinese: 餃子), or dumplings on the morning of Po Wu (破五). This is also the birthday of the Chinese god of wealth. In Taiwan, businesses traditionally re-open on this day, accompanied by firecrackers.
It is also common on the mainland, that on the 5th day locals will shoot off firecrackers, in the attempt to get Guan Yu's attention, thus ensuring his favor and good fortune for the new year.[citation needed]

Seventh day

The seventh day, traditionally known as renri 人日, the common man's birthday, the day when everyone grows one year older. It is the day when tossed raw fish salad, yusheng, is eaten. This is a custom primarily among the overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia and Singapore. People get together to toss the colourful salad and make wishes for continued wealth and prosperity.
For many Chinese Buddhists, this is another day to avoid meat, the seventh day commemorating the birth of Sakra Devanam Indra.

Eighth day

Another family dinner to celebrate the eve of the birth of the Jade Emperor. However, everybody should be back to work by the 8th day. All of government agencies and business will stop celebrating by the eighth day.

Ninth day

The ninth day of the New Year is a day for Chinese to offer prayers to the Jade Emperor of Heaven (天宮) in the Taoist Pantheon. The ninth day is traditionally the birthday of the Jade Emperor. This day is especially important to Hokkiens. Come midnight of the eighth day of the new year, Hokkiens will offer thanks giving prayers to the Emperor of Heaven. Offerings will include sugarcane as it was the sugarcane that had protected the Hokkiens from certain extermination generations ago. Incense, tea, fruit, vegetarian food or roast pig, and paper gold is served as a customary protocol for paying respect to an honored person.

Tenth day

The other day when the Jade Emperor's birthday is celebrated.

Thirteenth day

On the 13th day people will eat pure vegetarian food to clean out their stomach due to consuming too much food over the last two weeks.
This day is dedicated to the General Guan Yu, also known as the Chinese God of War. Guan Yu was born in the Han dynasty and is considered the greatest general in Chinese history. He represents loyalty, strength, truth, and justice. According to history, he was tricked by the enemy and was beheaded.
Almost every organization and business in China will pray to Guan Yu on this day. Before his life ended, Guan Yu had won over one hundred battles and that is a goal that all businesses in China want to accomplish. In a way, people look at him as the God of Wealth or the God of Success.

Fifteenth day

The fifteenth day of the new year is celebrated as yuán xiāo jié (元宵节), otherwise known as Chap Goh Mei in Fujian dialect. Rice dumplings tangyuan (simplified Chinese: 汤圆traditional Chinese: 湯圓pinyin: tāngyuán), a sweet glutinous rice ball brewed in a soup, is eaten this day. Candles are lit outside houses as a way to guide wayward spirits home. This day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, and families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns.
This day often marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.


Niangao, Chinese New Year cake
A reunion dinner is held on New Year's Eve where members of the family, near and far away, get together for the celebration. The venue will usually be in or near the home of the most senior member of the family. The New Year's Eve dinner is very sumptuous and traditionally includes chicken and fish. In some areas, fish (simplified Chinese: traditional Chinese: pinyin: ) is included, but not eaten completely (and the remainder is stored overnight), as the Chinese phrase "may there be surpluses every year" (simplified Chinese: 年年有余traditional Chinese: 年年有餘pinyin: nián nián yǒu yú) sounds the same as "may there be fish every year."
In mainland China, many families will banter whilst watching the CCTV New Year's Gala in the hours before midnight.
Red packets for the immediate family are sometimes distributed during the reunion dinner. These packets often contain money in certain numbers that reflect good luck and honorability. Several foods are consumed to usher in wealth, happiness, and good fortune. Several of the Chinese food names are homophones for words that also mean good things.
Food items
Name Description
Buddha's delight
(simplified Chinese: 罗汉斋traditional Chinese: 羅漢齋pinyin: luó hàn zhāi)
An elaborate vegetarian dish served by Chinese families on the eve and the first day of the New Year. A type of black hair-like algae, pronounced "fat choy" in Cantonese, is also featured in the dish for its name, which sounds like "prosperity". Hakkas usually serve kiu nyuk (Chinese: 扣肉pinyin: kòu ròu) and ngiong teu fu.
Fish Is usually eaten or merely displayed on the eve of Chinese New Year. The pronunciation of fish (魚yú) makes it a homophone for "surpluses"(餘yú).
Jau gok (Chinese: 油角pinyin: yóu jiăo) The main Chinese new year dumpling. It is believed to resemble ancient Chinese gold ingots (simplified Chinese: 金元宝traditional Chinese: 金元寶pinyin: jīn yuán bǎo)
jiao zi dumplings Eaten traditionally in northern China because the preparation is similar to packaging luck inside the dumpling, which is later eaten.
Mandarin oranges Mandarin oranges are the most popular and most abundant fruit during Chinese New Year – jin ju (Chinese: 金橘子pinyin: jīn júzi) translation: golden tangerine/orange or kam (Chinese: pinyin: gān) in Cantonese. Also, the name gik (橘 jú) in Teochew dialect is a homophone of "luck" or "fortune" (吉 jí).[4]
Melon seed/Kwatji
(Chinese: 瓜子pinyin: guāzi)
Other variations include sunflower, pumpkin and other seeds.
Nian gao (Chinese: 年糕) Most popular in eastern China (Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai) because its pronunciation is a homophone for "a more prosperous year (年高 lit. year high)". Nian gao is also popular in the Philippines because of its large Chinese population and is known as tikoy there. Known as Chinese New Year pudding, nian gao is made up of glutinous rice flour, wheat starch, salt, water, and sugar. The colour of the sugar used determines the colour of the pudding (white or brown).
Noodles Families may serve uncut noodles, which represent longevity and long life, though this practice is not limited to the new year.
Sweets Sweets and similar dried fruit goods are stored in a red or black Chinese candy box.
(Chinese: 肉干pinyin: ròu gān)
Chinese salty-sweet dried meat, akin to jerky, which is trimmed of the fat, sliced, marinated and then smoked for later consumption or as a gift.
Taro cakes Made from the vegetable taro, the cakes are cut into squares and often fried.
Turnip cakes A dish made of shredded radish and rice flour, usually fried and cut into small squares.
Yusheng or Yee sang (simplified Chinese: 鱼生traditional Chinese: 魚生pinyin: yú shēng) Raw fish salad. Eating this salad is said to bring good luck. This dish is usually eaten on the seventh day of the New Year, but may also be eaten throughout the period.


Red envelopes

Red packets for sale in a market in Taipei, Taiwan, before the Year of the Rat

Shoppers at a New Year market in Chinatown, Singapore
Traditionally, Red envelopes or red packets (Cantonese: lai sze or lai see) (利是, 利市 or 利事); (Mandarin: 'hóng bāo' (红包); Hokkien: 'ang pow' (POJ: âng-pau); Hakka: 'fung bao'; are passed out during the Chinese New Year's celebrations, from married couples or the elderly to unmarried juniors. It is also common for adults or young couples to give red packets to children. Red packets are also known as 壓歲錢/压岁钱 (Ya Sui Qian, which was evolved from 壓祟錢/压祟钱, literally, the money used to suppress or put down the evil spirit ) during this period.[5]
Red packets almost always contain money, usually varying from a couple of dollars to several hundred. Per custom, the amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given during funerals (帛金 : Bai Jin). The number 8 is considered lucky (for its homophone for "wealth"), and $8 is commonly found in the red envelopes in the US. The number six is also very lucky due to the reason, in Chinese six[六,liu] can mean smooth, as in having a smooth year. Sometimes chocolate coins are found in the red packets.
Odd and even numbers are determined by the first digit, rather than the last. Thirty and fifty, for example, are odd numbers, and are thus appropriate as funeral cash gifts. However, it is common and quite acceptable to have cash gifts in a red packet using a single bank note – with ten or fifty yuan bills used frequently.
The act of requesting for red packets is normally called (Mandarin): 讨紅包, 要利是. (Cantonese):逗利是. A married person would not turn down such request as it would mean that he or she would be "out of luck" in the new year. While this practice is common in South China, in the North people give cash without any cover to their sons and daughters, nephews and nieces, and children of their relatives and friends.[citation needed] Unlike the South, it is common for people give Ұ50, Ұ100 or even more, odd or even numbers are not taken into consideration anymore.[citation needed]

Gift exchange

In addition to red envelopes, which are usually given from elder to younger, small gifts (usually of food or sweets) are also exchanged between friends or relatives (of different households) during Chinese New Year. Gifts are usually brought when visiting friends or relatives at their homes. Common gifts include fruits (typically oranges, and never pears), cakes, biscuits, chocolates, candies, or some other small gift.[6]


Markets or village fairs are set up as the New Year is approaching. These usually open-air markets feature new year related products such as flowers, toys, clothing, and even fireworks. It is convenient for people to buy gifts for their new year visits as well as their home decoration. In some places, the practice of shopping for the perfect plum tree is not dissimilar to the Western tradition of buying a Christmas tree.


Local man setting off fireworks during Chinese New Year in Shanghai.
Bamboo stems filled with gunpowder that were burnt to create small explosions were once used in ancient China to drive away evil spirits. In modern times, this method has eventually evolved into the use of firecrackers during the festive season. Firecrackers are usually strung on a long fused string so it can be hung down. Each firecracker is rolled up in red papers, as red is auspicious, with gunpowder in its core. Once ignited, the firecracker lets out a loud popping noise and, as they are usually strung together by the hundreds, the firecrackers are known for their deafening explosions that are thought to scare away evil spirits. See also Myths above. The burning of firecrackers also signifies a joyful time of year and has become an integral aspect of Chinese New Year celebrations.[7]

Firecracker ban

The use of firecrackers, although a traditional part of celebration, has over the years led to many unfortunate outcomes. There have been reported incidents every year of users of fireworks being blinded, losing body parts, or suffering other grievous injuries, especially during the Chinese New Year season. Hence, many governments and authorities eventually enacted laws completely banning the use of firecrackers privately, primarily because of safety issues.
  • Taiwan – Beginning 2008, firecrackers are banned in urban areas, but still allowed in rural areas.
  • Mainland China – As of 2008, most urban areas in mainland China permit firecrackers. In the first three days of the traditional New Year, it is a tradition that people compete with each other by playing with firecrackers. However, many urban areas banned them in the 1990s. For example, they were banned in Beijing's urban districts from 1993 to 2005.[8] In 2004, 37 people were killed in a stampede when four million[9] people gathered for a rumoured Lantern Festival firework display in nearby Miyun.[10] Since the ban was lifted, the firecracker barrage has been tremendous. An unusual[clarification needed] feature is that many residents in major cities look down on street-level fireworks from their tower blocks. Bans are rare in rural areas.
  • Philippines – Fireworks and firecrackers are widely available throughout the Philippines but they are banned in Davao City.
  • Hong KongFireworks are banned for security reasons – some speculate a connection between firework use and the 1967 Leftist Riot. However, the government would put on a fireworks display in Victoria Harbour on the second day of the Chinese New Year for the public. Similar displays are also held in many other cities in and outside China.
  • Singapore – a partial ban on firecrackers was imposed in March 1970 after a fire killed six people and injured 68.[11] This was extended to a total ban in August 1972, after an explosion that killed two people[12] and an attack on two police officers attempting to stop a group from letting off firecrackers in February 1972.[13] However, in 2003, the government allowed firecrackers to be set off during the festive season. At the Chinese New Year light-up in Chinatown, at the stroke of midnight on the first day of the Lunar New Year, firecrackers are set off under controlled conditions by the Singapore Tourism Board. Other occasions where firecrackers are allowed to be set off are determined by the tourism board or other government organizations. However, they are not allowed to be commercially sold.
  • Malaysia – firecrackers are banned for the similar reasons as in Singapore. However, many Malaysians manage to smuggle them from Thailand to meet their private needs.
  • Indonesia – Firecrackers and fireworks are forbidden in public during the Chinese New Year, especially in areas with significant non-Chinese population in order to avoid any conflict between the two. However, there were some exceptions. The usage of firecrackers is legal in some metropolitan areas such as Jakarta and Medan, where the degree of racial and cultural tolerance is higher.
  • United States – In 2007, New York City lifted its decade-old ban on firecrackers, allowing a display of 300,000 firecrackers to be set off in Chinatown's Chatham Square.[14] Under the supervision of the fire and police departments, Los Angeles regularly lights firecrackers every New Year's Eve, mostly at temples and the shrines of benevolent associations. The San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade, the largest outside China, is accompanied by numerous firecrackers, both officially sanctioned and illicit.
  • Australia – Australia, with the exception of its capital territory (ACT) and the Northern Territory, does not permit the use of fireworks at all, except when used by a licensed pyrotechnician. These rules also require a permit to be sought from local government, as well as any relevant local bodies such as maritime or aviation authorities (as relevant to the types of fireworks being used) and hospitals, schools, et cetera, within a certain range.


Chinese New Year festival in Chinatown, Boston
Clothing mainly featuring the colour red is commonly worn throughout the Chinese New Year because it is believed that red will scare away evil spirits and bad fortune. In addition, people typically wear new clothes from head to toe to symbolize a new beginning in the new year. Wearing new clothes also symbolizes having more than enough things to use and wear in the new year.

Shou Sui

守岁(守歲) (Shou Sui) occurs when members of the family gather around throughout the night after the reunion dinner and reminisce about the year that has passed while welcoming the year that has arrived. Some believe that children who Shou Sui will increase the longevity of the parents.
一夜连双岁,五更分二年 means that the night of New Year's Eve (which is also the morning of the first day of the New Year) is a night that links two years. 五更 (Wu Geng – the double hour from 0300 to 0500) is the time that separates the two years.


During these 15 days of the Chinese New Year one will see superstitious or traditional cultural beliefs with meanings which can be puzzling in the eyes of those who do not celebrate this occasion. There is a customary reason that explains why everything, not just limited to decorations, are centered on the colour red. At times, gold is the accompanying colour for reasons that are already obvious. One best and common example is the red diamond-shaped posters with the character 福 (pinyin: fú, Cantonese and Hakka: Fook), or "auspiciousness" which are displayed around the house and on doors. This sign is usually seen hanging upside down, since the Chinese word 倒 (pinyin: dào), or "upside down", sounds the same as 到 (pinyin: dào), or "arrive". Therefore, it symbolizes the arrival of luck, happiness, and prosperity.
Red is the predominant colour used in New Year celebrations. Red is the emblem of joy, and this colour also symbolizes virtue, truth and sincerity. On the Chinese opera stage, a painted red face usually denotes a sacred or loyal personage and sometimes a great emperor. Candies, cakes, decorations and many things associated with the New Year and its ceremonies are coloured red. The sound of the Chinese word for “red” ( 紅) is “hong” in Mandarin (Hakka: Fung; Cantonese: Hoong) which also means “prosperous.” Therefore, red is an auspicious colour and has an auspicious sound.


The following are popular floral decorations for the New Year and are available at new year markets.
Floral Decor Meaning
Plum Blossom symbolizes luck
Kumquat symbolizes prosperity
Narcissus symbolizes prosperity
Chrysanthemum symbolizes longevity
Bamboo a plant used for any time of year
Sunflower means to have a good year
Eggplant a plant to heal all of your sickness
Chom Mon Plant a plant which gives you tranquility

Icons and ornamentals

Icons Meaning Illustrations
Fish The Koi fish is usually seen in paintings. Decorated food depicting the fish can also be found. It symbolizes surplus or success.
Lanterns These lanterns differ from those of Mid Autumn Festival in general. They will be red in colour and tend to be oval in shape. These are the traditional Chinese paper lanterns. Those lanterns, used on the fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year for the Lantern Festival, are bright, colourful, and in many different sizes and shapes. Red lanterns.JPG
Decorations Decorations generally convey a New Year greeting. They are not advertisements. Chinese calligraphy posters show Chinese idioms. Other decorations include a New year picture, Chinese knots, and papercutting and couplets. Decoration2.jpg
Dragon dance and Lion dance Dragon and lion dances are common during Chinese New Year. It is believed that the loud beats of the drum and the deafening sounds of the cymbals together with the face of the dragon or lion dancing aggressively can evict bad or evil spirits. Lion dances are also popular for opening of businesses in Hong Kong. Seattle ID night market - lion dance 06.jpgCYSM CNY show with Chai.jpg
Fortune gods Cai Shen Ye, Che Kung,etc. Fortune.JPG

This above information was gathered from around the web - thank you wickipedia and google.