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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

(May prosperity be with you)

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

(Happy New Year)

This year is the year of Wu Zhi.

The Year of the Rat...

Just for fun, how would you like to see your name in Mandarin Chinese? Pop over to Your Chinese Name and try it!
Well, it is February 1st ya'll (Eh, so I still have a few more hours before it is *officially* February but let's just ignore that fact okay?) and it will soon be the Chinese New year! We have a few fun things planned...Saturday we will be participating in a wonderful celebration with many other families of adopted Chinese children. On Thursday we will have dinner at our favorite Chinese place, as we do every year for Chinese New Year's Day!

This year, 2008, is Year 4705 by the Chinese calendar. Chinese New Year, also known as the "Spring Festival", falls on a different date each year, ranging from late January to mid-February, (basically on the second new moon after the winter solstice.)

If you were born in 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996 - you were born under the sign of the rat!

Unlike our western New Year, celebrations aren't tightly focused on one particular date.

The big day itself will be February 7 2008 but festivities can occur on weekends before or after that date!

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4706 begins on Feb. 7, 2008.

Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year


A Chinese proverb states that all creations are reborn on New Year’s day. The Chinese New Year is a celebration of change ... out with the old and in with the new!

The Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year because it is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements. It usually occurs in January or February. On February 12, 2002, Chinese communities around the world will ring in the Year Of The Rat!

Ratatouille Anyone?

Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. Those born in rat years tend to be leaders, pioneers, and conquerors. They are charming, passionate, charismatic, practical and hardworking. asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in eac

h animal's year would have some of that animal's personality. Those born in rat years

Fireworks and Family Feasts

At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spir


The Lantern Festival

In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other's homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year's Eve. In the United States, however, many early Chinese immigrants arrived without their families, and found a sense of community through neighborhood associations instead. Today, many Chinese-American neighborhood associations host ban

quets and other New Year events.

Chinese New Year ends with the lantern festival on the fifteenth day of the month. Some of the lanterns may be works of art, painted with birds, animals, flowers, zodiac signs, and scenes from legend and history. People hang glowing lanterns in temples, and carry lanterns to an evening parade under the light of the full


In many areas the highlight of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. The dragon—which might stretch a hundred feet long—is typically made of silk, paper, and bamboo. Traditionally the dragon is held aloft by young men who dance as they guide the colorful beast through the streets. In the United States, where the New Year is celebrated with a shortened schedule, the dragon dance always takes place on a weekend.

Tangerines and oranges are given as gifts, as their Chinese names sound like "gold" and "wealth".

One of the most popular dishes at most Chinese restaurants is a stir fry. Here is one that is easy and good.

~Garlic Chicken Stir Fry~

Crunchy vegetables and chicken are treated to a quick garlic-ginger saute, then tossed in a lightly sweetened soy sauce for a quick and colorful stir-fry. Dish it up over rice or noodles and you're done!


  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sliced cabbage
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat peanut oil in a wok or large skillet. When oil begins to smoke, quickly stir in 2 cloves minced garlic, ginger root, green onions and salt. Stir fry until onion becomes translucent, about 2 minutes. Add chicken and stir until opaque, about 3 minutes. Add remaining 4 cloves minced garlic and stir. Add sweet onions, cabbage, bell pepper, peas and 1/2 cup of the broth/water and cover.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1/2 cup broth/water, soy sauce, sugar and cornstarch. Add sauce mixture to wok/skillet and stir until chicken and vegetables are coated with the thickened sauce. Serve immediately, over hot rice if desired.
Sound good? To all our dear friends, Happy New Year! Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Some of the pictures, designs and information comes from:

Activity Village




Mockingbird Hill said...

Looks like we celebrated the New Year without even realizing it...we had Chinese Food for dinner!!

Thanks for the info..lots of stuff I never knew ;)


-Jennifer said...

Oh my...that sounded nasty, LOL

I thought the Chinese New Year was in February??

Janet said...


I am still thinking of you and hope you are feeling a bit more upbeat. Thanks for the info, I had a Chinese client last year and I need to remember to send her New Years wishes. Glad o know I can do it anytime ( so I don't forget) and the recipe sounds Tasty. Maybe tomorrow night? Just need green onions.

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

What a wonderful informative post!!! And the recipe for the Garlic Chicken Stir Fry sounds YUMMY!!!

Valerie said...

yay! i married a rat!!

(does that make us the Rat Pack?)


Mama P said...

Happy New Year!

Pearl said...

Happy Chinese New Year to YOU!
It is my year...I am a rat...
Thanks for all the extra info I didn't know about. I love to learn about these things.
My husband and I have a very favorite Chinese restaurant that we go to when we want to treat ourselves to something different.

Hope you have a wonderful time.


Deb said...

This was fascinating Sue! I loved reading about all the celebrations. I was born under the sign of the Rat :-}

JafaBrit's Art said...

What a great post, enjoyed learning a few new things.

Sandi McBride said...

I was born in the Year of the Rat, January 7 1948....I think I lived a prior life there...I love anything Chinese...the first doll I picked out was a lovely little China Doll...and I adore Chinese Food...any of it...Happy New Year!!!

angelsamoungus said...

Happy New Year to you all. I am not a rat but Ronnie is HAH. I enjoyed your post and give Gracie a hug for me.

Looking forward to Sunday!! Take care

Sugar Bear said...

Happy New Year to you! Thank you for all this wonderful information! I always feel educated after reading your blog.

FrenchGardenHouse said...

Thanks so much for the sounds wonderful!

Thanks, too, for visiting my blog and entering my blog GIVE AWAY!

xo Lidy

BittersweetPunkin said...

What a wealth of information you are! Sounds like fun!
Happy Chinese New Year!

PAT said...

I was born in the year of the Sheep. My name is Fan Ping Tan.

Wonderful post, Sue!


LivingTheLife said...

Wow! I've learned so much reading your post...and the recipe sounds delish! Thanks for sharing...I think this may be the only time I am not happy about missing out on the whole "RAT" thing...hmmmm I am curious to know what animal year I was born in...and the similarities...where do I find out that information???

Gonna run to the store now...and pick up some of those ingredients for a great dinner tomorrow...

Happy New Year...

*Jilly* said...

I was born in the year of the name is: Jill LaFaye aka..Lu Zhi li

Zhi means; purpose, will, determination

li means; stand; let stand; establish, set

Sounds like fun times ahead..the recipe looks really good!

Rosemary said...

Happy Chinese New Year!!!

Melissa said...

I love garlic ANYTHING - this recipe sounds great.

Happy new year to all y'all!

Pamela said...

when my youngest was in elementary school, one of my customers was chinese. She brought me all sorts of stuff for Chinese New year and I took it to my daughters classroom. We had a dragon even. It was such fun (at least for me)