Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Potluck – #ChineseNewYear by Miriam Hurdle

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1100 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine.

The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics. This series is along the same lines… but is a ‘Lucky Dip’

In this series I will be sharing posts from the first six months of 2021 – details of how you can participate are at the end of the post.

This is the first post from children’s author and poet Miriam Hurdle and was published in February 2021 and is a celebration of Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year – Memories, Calendar, Legend, and Traditions

Chinese New Year begins on Friday, February 12, 2021. It is the year of Ox. The holiday was traditionally a time to honor household and heavenly deities and ancestors. It was also a time to bring the family together for feasting.

Image result for personality of an ox

Childhood Memories

When I was a kid, my favorite family time was Chinese New Year. We had one week off from school and my dad had five days off from work. On New Year’s Eve, Flower Markets took place in major parks. They were open from early evening to 5:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

One year, I went to the Flower Market with my older sister and her boyfriend. We lived in western side on the Hong Kong island, and took the tram to Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. By the time we finished walking through the entire market, there was no tram in operation until morning. We followed the tram track and took one hour and thirty minutes to walk home.

Victoria Park Chinese New Year Market

Victoria Park Chinese New Year MarketVictoria Park, Causeway, Hong Kong

I was half asleep even though my feet were moving with one hand holding my sister’s and other hand holding something she bought me. I dropped the bag on the ground many times, bent down, picked it up and continued walking on autopilot.

By the time we got home, my mom had made special food as part of the Chinese New Year ritual. I liked sweet rice balls. We ate and went to sleep for a few hours. On New Year’s Day, everyone put on new clothing. Kids would say “Gung Hei Fat Choi” (Wishing you prosperous) to the parents and adults. My parents and the adults in the neighborhood gave us kids Lucky Money in red envelopes. It was the tradition for the married people to give Lucky Money to the kids and unmarried adults. We visited our relatives on the second, fourth, and fifth day. Kids loved that because we could keep all our Lucky Money.

We anticipated with excitement on the 3rd day. There were three activities became our family tradition. In the morning we went to Tiger Balm Garden, which was a private mansion and garden that eventually became a public garden. After Tiger Balm Garden, we went to the Botanic Arboretum, and visited the Governor’s Garden, which was open to the public during Chinese New Year.

Being able to spend five holidays with my parents was the best thing for me as a kid.

Why Chinese New Year is on a different date each year?

Image result for images of lunar calendar

Chinese New Year is based on the ancient Chinese lunar calendar. It functioned as a religious, dynastic, and social guide. Oracle bones inscribed with astronomical records show the calendar existed as early as 14th century B.C. when the Shang Dynasty was in power.

A lunar calendar is based on the monthly cycles of the Moon’s phases, with the new moon being the first of the month and full moon the middle of the month.

Each lunation is approximately ​29 1⁄2 days. The lunar calendar alternates between 29 and 30 days a month and an average of 354 days a year.

Leap Year

The Gregorian calendar has an average of 365.25 days a year, and therefore 365 days a year with 366 days in a leap year every four years.

Approximately every three years (7 times in 19 years), a leap month is added to the Chinese calendar. To determine when, we find the number of new moons between the 11th month in one year and the 11th month in the following year. A leap month is inserted if there are 13 New Moon from the start of the 11th month in the first year to the start of the 11th month in the next year.

Chinese New Year usually begins when the new moon occurs between January 21 and February 20, and it lasts about 15 days until the full moon arrives with the Festival of Lanterns.

The Legend of Chinese New Year celebration

Image result for lion dance

Lion Dance, Chinese New Year, Hong Kong

According to Chinese mythology, a Nian is a beast lived under the sea or in the mountains. It was unclear whether the Nian was an authentic folk mythology or a local oral tradition. Some sources cited it resembled a lion’s head with a dog’s body. Towards the end of winter, on Chinese New Year’s Eve, the Nian came out to feed on crops and sometime children. All the villagers hid from the beast. One year, an old man came to the village. On the New Year’s Eve, after the villagers escaped, he put red papers up and set off firecrackers to drive off the creature. The next day, the villagers came back to their town and saw that nothing was destroyed. They later found out the old man discovered the Nian was afraid of red and loud noises. It became the tradition the villagers celebrated the New Year wearing red clothes, hanging red lanterns, and red scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian.

Chinese New Year Traditions and Symbols

New Clothes

The Chinese New Year is a time of change and new beginnings, wearing something new is a symbol of removing the old and welcoming the new. Red is the color for celebrating any happy occasion, as it represents prosperity and good luck.

Lucky Money Red Envelopes

The married people give the Lucky Money red envelopes to children or unmarried adults to bless them with good luck/fortune and happiness/abundance.

Image result for lucky money red envelope
Plum and Peach Blossoms

People decorate their homes with fruit blossoms to symbolize a plentiful crop in the new year. Peach blossoms symbolize long life, romance, and prosperity.

Fish

The homophone of the Chinese word ‘fish’ is the same as the word for ‘surplus’ inferring more than enough. By hanging up fish decorations or eat fish, people hope the New Year will bring wealth and prosperity.

Tangerines and Oranges

Both fruits symbolize abundant happiness. The homophone of ‘tangerine’ is the same for the word ‘luck’ and the homophone of ‘orange’ sounds the same as the word for ‘wealth’. When visiting family and friends, it is a custom to take a gift bag of oranges or tangerines.

Rice-cake — Progression or Promotion

Glutinous rice cake is a lucky food eaten on Chinese New Year’s Eve. This is play on words to infer “getting higher year after year.” It can imply children’s height, rise in business success, better grades in study, or promotions at work.

Image result for Chinese new year Glutinous rice cake

Sweet Rice Balls — Family Togetherness

The homophone of ‘ball’ and round shape are associated with reunion and being together. They are favorite food during the New Year celebrations.

I hope you enjoyed finding out something interesting!

Wishing you a

Happy Chinese New Year!

©Miriam Hurdle 2021

About Miriam Hurdle

Miriam Hurdle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She published four children’s books at twenty-six years old. Her poetry collection received the Solo “Medalist Winner” for the New Apple Summer eBook Award and achieved bestseller status on Amazon.

Miriam writes poetry, short stories, memoir, and children’s books. She earned a Doctor of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public-school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California, and the visits to her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters in Oregon. When not writing, she engages in blogging, gardening, photography, and traveling.

Books by Miriam Hurdle

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US And:Amazon UK Goodreads: Miriam Hurdle – Blog: The Showers of Blessings – Twitter: @mhurdle112

 My thanks to Miriam for allowing me to share posts from her archives… and I know she would be delighted to hear from you.

How you can feature in the series?

  • All I need you to do is give me permission to dive in to your archives and find two posts to share here on Smorgasbord. (sally.cronin@moyhill.com)
  • Rather than a set topic, I will select posts at random of general interest across a number of subjects from the first six months of 2021. (it is helpful if you have a link to your archives in your sidebar by month)
  • As I will be promoting your books as part of the post along with all your information and links so I will not be sharing direct marketing or self- promotional posts in the series.
  • If you are an author I am sure you will have a page on your blog with the details, and an ‘about page’ with your profile and social media links (always a good idea anyway). I will get everything that I need.
  • As a blogger I would assume that you have an ‘about page’ a profile photo and your links to social media.
  • Copyright is yours and I will ©Your name on every post… and you will be named as the author in the URL and subject line.
  • Previous participants are very welcome to take part again.
  • Each post is reformatted for my blog and I don’t cut and paste, this means it might look different from your own post.
  • If I do share a post which contains mainly photographs I will share up to five and link back to the original post for people to view the rest.

N.B – To get the maximum benefit from your archive posts, the only thing I ask is that you respond to comments individually and share on your own social media.. thank you.

115 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Potluck – #ChineseNewYear by Miriam Hurdle

    • I am sure that was an amazing job…I did a monthly radio programme with a Chinese marketing specialist working in the UK whose mother was station director of one of a radio station there. We compared festivals in China and the UK to each other and we would go out live and then they would repeat.. It was an amazing learning experience and always looked forward to learning more. x

      Liked by 2 people

    • It’s great meeting you, Suzanne! It must be an interesting and exciting experience for being an International Language Saturday School principal. Other than my full-time school job, I have been a principal of a Chinese school after-school program for 30 years. It’s closed due to Covid because I use a public school where I taught. The school district will decide on the after-school programs later in the year.
      Thank you for your visit and comment!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Where was your International Language School, Suzanne? Ill come over to visit your blog soon.
        Many Chinese parents send their kids to Saturday language school. When I was teaching back in 1989, some parents approached me to start the after school Chinese school. Their kids could get the homework done, learn Chinese, and could stay home with the families on Saturday. I was glad to keep it going until the pandemic.

        Liked by 2 people

      • You must have a diverse community. 🙂 My daughter took 4 years of French.
        I did a quick search online. There are 220 languages in California, and 44% of the people speak a language other than English. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Potluck – #ChineseNewYear by Miriam Hurdle | The Showers of Blessings

  2. Thank you so much for reading this post again, Jill! ❤ I still could see myself falling asleep, walking with my eyes closed on New Year's eve as a kid. I learned something new and tried to be accurate on other things when doing this post. It's educational and fun for me also. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. An interesting read.
    It was one of the topics that we did in school each year. We loved getting the children to perform as the Chinese dragon.
    Older classes created the Willow Pattern plate and my preschool group (at the time), did some beautiful peach blossom paintings.
    A time when we could enjoy and celebrate in our school and not have to tick the prescribed boxes.
    The peach blossom paintings I shall definatley be doing with my grandson for Chinese New Year in 2022.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Totally agree.
        It was one of the things i loved about our school when we were at the top. We would learn about and celebrate so many different cultures and put on special assembly performances to the school and parents.
        A lot of hard work but definatley worth it.
        It was about teaching understanding and respect.

        Liked by 2 people

    • In our schools, we celebrate all the holidays by reading books and doing projects to learn about the different cultures also. The peach blossom paintings must be beautiful. I learned to do the bamboo drawing when I was a kid. I’m glad you continue to do the fun project with your grandson, Sue!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Such a fab post Miriam. I loved it and it reminded me of living (twice) in Singapore. Once in 1954-55 when I was a small child, and then again 2000 to 2004. We managed a Chinese recording artist in the 2000s and we spent a lovely time there. Chinese New Year was always amazing. We took her to California for the Chinese New Year celebrations and also for Harvest Moon Festival and she was a guest singer for Los Angeles and San Francisco’s Chinese Harvest Moon Festivals Just magical. It all came back thanks so much. Lovely post.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 24th- 30th October 2021 – Halloween Party, Out and About, 1981 Top Hits, Bloggers and Authors, Reviews, Health and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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