Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Chinese New Year!

2010, the Year of the Tiger!

The Chinese year is based upon the lunar month which means that it starts aroundabout late January to early February, and the festival itself lasts for 15 days.

Legend tells us that, back in the day when it all started, there was a monster called the Nien that terrorised villagers on the first day of the New Year, eating anything and everything, including villagers! They took to leaving food outside their doors in the hopes that that would sate the monsters appetite.

One day they saw that a small child dressed in red scared the Nien away, it was scared of the colour red. From then on they hung red decorations etc on their doors at New Year and let off firecrackers as an extra deterrent. It never bothered them again.

Today, red is still the symbolic colour of Chinese New Year. Red paper lanterns (amongst other colours) adorn houses and streets, and on New Years day children are given red paper envelopes containing money or other gifts.

On New Years Eve families get together for huge sumptuous meals and wish each other peace, happiness, luck and prosperity. It's traditionally a time for forgiveness and letting go of old grudges.

The tiger itself is a graceful, brave and fierce character who is supposed to protect households from the 3 main tragedies of fire, thieves and ghosts. Nowadays in this country that's probably fire, flood and repossession.

I think I'll head down to Chinatown on Sunday and check out the New Years celebrations, I went there for lunch with the Wiluf and Fabrice last week, and the lanterns completely took me in!

For my own personal little celebration today, I made some Chinese New Year cookies. I did concede slightly to Valentines day, check out the sexy heart shapes, but I tried to use some traditional new year symbols, check out el tigre:

The paper lantern:

My interwebs research indicated that this symbol means 'tiger'. It's probably a big joke and it really means 'ballbags' or something:

I believe this is a symbol conveying luck:

And the least Chinese of them all:

I know I have at least couple of Chinese/Asian readers, my apologies if I've just offended your families by etching rude slogans across my sugary treats!!

The recipe again for those who might have missed it the first time round:

225g Butter
125g Caster sugar
275g Plain flour
50g Semolina

Cream the butter first, then add the sugar, then the flour and semolina.

It looks really crumbly and unworkable at first, but grab it all together and knead it for a bit and it's all good. Don't try and manipulate it too much whilst you're rolling it all though, it's a bit temperamental and falls apart easily!

Mmmmmm, cookies!

I'll be off for a nice Lush bath soon, but for now please allow me to wish you peace, happiness and good health for 2010.

Sun nien fai lok!


  1. Enjoyable post - as usual. Now I have to find some cookies.
    Happy Chinese New Year.

  2. Thanks hun

    Those cookies didn't last long, I've brought the last one in today to taunt my workmates with :D

  3. Loved the post!

    Happy year-of-the-tiger :-)

  4. Happy New Year to all :)

    Cheers Agnes!

  5. Awesome cookies!!! Love the tiger! Nom Nom Nom.

    I need to make some of those. Okay, maybe not NEED, but want to.

    Happy New Year!

  6. It's a total need thing baby!

    I'll confess, the tiger was supposed to have whiskers, but I was worried it would totally mess it up!

    I'm just glad it didn't come out looking like roadkill! :D