Happy Chinese New Year! Yes, according to the Lunar Calendar, the time for red envelopes, firecrackers, and dragon dances has come around again. This year, 2020 is known as the Year of the Rat. It starts on January 25th, and the party doesn’t stop until February 11th! Here are some ways to celebrate, including tips on how to chow down on delicious steamed buns!
Years and Years
Because Lunar New Year is so huge, many countries and cultures across Asia observe it. However, there are different names depending on the language and customs associated with it. The Chinese Zodiac isn’t omnipresent either. Before now, the most recent set of Rat years were these:
You may notice the pattern of twelve-year gaps in between each of these dates; that’s because zodiac signs recur in twelve-year cycles corresponding with the 12 months, 12 animals and the 12 hours embedded in traditional Chinese beliefs about astrology.
Lucky Good Fortune
One of the most popular customs at Chinese New Year is to hand out red envelopes, also called hong bao. These envelopes are filled with money, even if it is a small amount. It is primarily a gift from elder members of a family to their younger relatives. Anyone born under the sign of the Rat is considered to be both prosperous and wealthy. The reason for this is that culturally speaking, the Rat is believed to be a hard worker who is good at being thrifty and savvy with their spending. Some of the most well-known people of the Rats include:
- Prince Charles
- Diego Maradona
- Jude Law (he was born in 1972!)
- Avril Lavigne
- Tom Holland
Eating Steamed Buns
Now then, let’s turn our attention to another great way to celebrate: eating! The yummy steamed buns are similar bread rolls you might see used for cheeseburgers over here in the USA. They can have fillings and condiments or you can enjoy them plain. Stuffed buns are referred to as baozi while plain ones are called mantou.
The three most basic ingredients are all-purpose-flour, yeast, and cold water. Activate any dry yeast you plan on using. You’ve got to mix this with the dough to make it rise. Also, take care when using instant yeast. Although this sounds like strange advice, putting instant yeast around sugar and salt can lead to unappealing results. Knead the dough and be sure to dust the board and your hands with flour. One more thing – you can add some milk too!
Get All Your Asian Groceries at Lotte Plaza Market
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