Enter the Year of the Dragon – Lunar New Year 2012

Chinese Tea Ceremony set up

2012 brings the auspicious Year of the Dragon in the Lunar calendar. “Gong Xi Fa Cai!” as the Chinese say. The new year runs from January 23rd to February 6th, 2012 with fifteen glorious days of celebration and customs. There are so many traditional practices during this time, I wanted to share one of Pikelet & Lollo’s favorite – the Chinese tea ceremony. This is a sweet and private family ritual that is performed on special occasions such as weddings and we do it every year on the first day of the Chinese New Year.

Pouring out chrysanthemum tea for the tea ceremony

The buzz on the day is a little like Christmas morning. The children dress up in their new clothes and we set up the tea table. Our ceremony, though simple is symbolic and special. First a table is set up with a tea pot (we like chrysanthemum) and two tea cups  for Beefcake and I. It is customary for the elders to be seated and then served tea by the children one by one. The elder takes a sip of tea and then presents the child with a hong bao‘ or a red envelope. If you have extended family, the married people take turns to pass out the hong baos, from oldest to youngest. Each hong bao is stuffed with money (preferably new notes straight from the bank vault) and is believed to bring more good luck. The more you give, the more you will receive. Children or unmarried adults are not required to give hong baos. And just like Christmas money, the children are allowed to buy anything they like with their hong bao money.

Lollo serves Beefcake tea

If you would like to experience some of these traditions, visit Day of the Dragon at the Crow Collection of Asian Art on Saturday February 4th from 10am-4pm.  There’s face painting, Chinese calligraphy, red envelopes for decorating, puppet making, story telling, Yogiños yoga and a traditional lion and dragon dance by J.K Wong Academy to end the festivities with a bang! IttyBittyFoodies were spotted by a reader on the preview night last weekend, so come on by and say “Gong Xi Fa Cai!”

Till our next happy meal!

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