Chinese New Year sparkles with color, sizzles with firecrackers, and entices us with all kinds of fabulous food and traditions. But there's a lot more to this magical 15-day celebration. Based on a Chinese zodiac cycle that repeats every 12 years, it's also known as the Spring Festival, a time to honor the spirit of renewal and coming prosperity. Before the festival begins, people traditionally make vows, clean their homes, repay debts and buy new clothes.Are You a Boar?
Each year of the Chinese Zodiac is symbolized by an animal. According to one legend, Buddha summoned all the animals to come see him before he left the Earth. Only 12 came to bid him farewell. As a reward, Buddha named a year after each animal, in the order in which they arrived: Rat, Oxen, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar.
Chinese folklore has created horoscopes around these animal signs, similar to the Western astrological signs. Those born in 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995 or 2007 are Boars. They're known to be studious and gallant with tremendous inner strength. They're steadfast and won't retreat from goals.
They're quiet but always well-informed. They choose few friends but are kind, affectionate and loyal for life. And they're compatible with rabbits and rams Sound like anyone you know?Symbolic Foods
Families gather for a huge, festive banquet on the eve of the New Year, with different foods symbolizing the good things in life. Noodles signify long life; whole fish represents togetherness and abundance; fried foods symbolize gold and prosperity. And as the celebrations continue, food takes center stage.
Ready to plan your own Chinese New Year celebrations? It's fun and easy! Just download our free Complete Guide to Celebrating Chinese New Year for oodles of ideas. Click here to find:
If Chinese New Year inspires you to cook Asian, remember, it's really simple to create fresh, fabulous dishes in your own kitchen. All you need to get started are some reliable recipes, a well-stocked pantry, and a few special tools and techniques. Check out these basic tips and helpful resources to get you cooking—Asian-style.The Secret is Simplicity Itself
Though it may seem exotic to some cooks, most Asian cuisine is simple to prepare by combining essential flavors and textures with a few basic techniques — like any cuisine. It also relies on the magic of intensely flavored sauces, marinades and condiments to transform fresh ingredients into mouthwatering meals.