Friday, February 8, 2013

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Blessings from the PA this Chinese New Year!

Parents decorated both campuses for Chinese New Year - there were a lot of lanterns hung up and down the hallways and on the podium. There were beautiful bulletin board displays up as well. Parents provided CNY Teacher Appreciation Lunch and sponsored a "Tray of Together-ness" for the teachers as well.

Throughout the Chinese New Year season, it is customary to offer guests an assortment of treats from a Tray of Togetherness - a circular tray filled with an assortment of symbolic foods to provide an auspicious beginning to the New Year.

The never-ending circular form symbolizes together-ness, hence the tray is called the 'Tray of Togetherness'. If items on the tray add up to the number 8, eight is a lucky number and symbolizes fortune.

Candy (糖果; tángguǒ) - safety, good fortune and 'sweeten' the new year
Seeds - lotus seeds, watermelon seeds, etc. - having a large number of children 籽 [zǐ]
Peanuts (花生; huāshēng) - health, long life, birth of prosperity, continuous growth, multiplication in wealth and good fortune, stability
Walnut (核桃仁; hétàorén) - happiness of the entire family
Cashew nut (腰果, yāoguǒ)- gold, money (the nut's shape symbolizes the gold bar of ancient times)

You also see foods like:

Oranges - In Chinese the word for "orange" (cheng2) sounds nearly identical to the word for "gold," so oranges are eaten to promote wealth in the New Year.

Dumplings - Filled with pork or vegetables — dumplings are classic Chinese New Year treats, symbolizing prosperity in the new year. They are often shaped as ancient Chinese money, called ingots, to symbolize wealth.

Noodles - Long noodles are eaten at Chinese New Year to symbolize long life, and can be prepared in many ways.

Fish - The pronunciation of fish in Chinese —yú(2) sounds just like the word for "surpluses," and fish is traditionally eaten on Chinese New Year to symbolize abundance. The fish can be steamed or fried, but it must be whole to fully symbolize completeness and good fortune in the coming year — the tail and the head represent "happy endings and beginnings." In many families, a part of the fish is not eaten and is left on the plate to signify the "surpluses" the family hopes to receive.

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