Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chinese New Year’s Symbols


First, we’re not talking about The Lost Symbols here OK ?!

Since, it’s nearing the Chinese New Year festival, there are many feature articles in the newspaper about Chinese New Year. Some talk about the luck for the 12 animal zodiac signs ( which I don’t normally read much! ),some talk about the dos t and don’ts during the CNY periods. I am more attracted to articles about the origins of certain CNY related items or things we usually relate to CNY.

I came across this article in today’s The Star newspaper (9/2/2010) and I would like to share with you all (for  those who’re not familiar with Chinese New Year celebrated by Chinese all around the world) on some of the symbolic items relating to CNY.


According to the info found in Wikipedia (read more about it here), Lion Dance is a form of traditional dance in Chinese culture, in which performers don on a lion’s costume and perform a dance mimicking the movement of a lion. Basically, lion dance is performed to ward off evil spirits and to summon luck and fortune. These days, lion dances are also performed during opening or launching ceremonies and special functions.

I so happen have some photos of lion dances which I had taken  last year in the company I worked for. Every year, my company will have outsiders coming to our office to perform lion dance. This is in hope of bringing better luck and fortune to the business.

office lion dance 

Does real life lion likes to eat mandarin oranges ? Well, this one just wants to be fed.

office lion dance 2

This lion is helping me to complete my report. Deadline is close and I can use some helping hands paws !

office lion dance 3

It’s obvious I have more than 1 deadline, so I need another lion to come help me with my work


This is definitely a cursed for those married adults, hehe! Ang pow-giving is a customary practise during CNY, where red packets or envelopes with money inside are given out by married individuals to those who are not married, especially the children. This is where most of your hard-earned money will disappear within seconds, sob! sob!

Giving ang pow is a symbol of goodwill to bless the children with health and good fortune with their studies or jobs. The ang pow colour is usually red, which means good luck and prosperity. The rule of the game is nobody cares whether your Boss gives you bonus or not, you just need to give out ang pows to those who are not married and younger than you are. This ang pow-giving thingy is definitely more fun when you’re the kid or someone who’s still qualified to receive ang pow.


Mandarin oranges are known as “kam” in Cantonese which means gold and it signifies wealth and good fortune to come. I remember when I was still a kid, my parents used to buy mandarin oranges which come in wooden crates. Those oranges are from Teo Chew province in China. They are smaller in size but can last longer before turning into rotten fruit. For its durability, Teo Chew  mandarin oranges are usually served as offerings to the Gods during prayers. These days, Yung Chun province’s mandarin oranges are more in demand as the fruits from this province is sweeter and bigger in size. They make better gifts to friends and relatives.

mandarin orange 


Ask any Chinese and they will tell you from head to tail about prosperity. Chances is that most will mention about God of Prosperity. CNY has to do with everything auspicious and the God of Prosperity is certainly the Star during CNY. Every household with make offerings in the form of mandarin oranges, sweet foodstuff and pray that the “God of Prosperity” visit his/her home.


This is what I look forward to every year. Yee Sang ! This is a multi-coloured raw fish salad. It’s basically made up of raddish and raw fish slices, mixed with gravy of plum sauce, grounded peanut and sesame. Yee Sang is tossed with friends and family members, and the higher one tosses, the better it is as it signifies greater fortunes. Fish, or yu, stands for abundance or excess and surplus of luck and wealth throughout the year. Too bad I don’t have photo of yee sang now. Maybe I will try to snap a photo of this dish this weekend.

This Sunday will be the 1st day of Chinese New Year. It’s also co-inciding with Valentine’s Day. CNY is celebrated over 15 days period by Chinese. It’s the biggest celebration amongst all Chinese festivals.

Wishing everyone who celebrates Chinese New Year :


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