For those who are still feeling that New Year’s spirit, why not keep the revelry going with a Chinese New Year’s celebration? Take out your broom and sweep away the past: it’s time to usher in the Year of the Horse, which begins on Jan. 31.
Pick the date: Choose an evening and invite friends for a traditional New Year’s banquet. You can assign items for guests to bring, such as fortune cookies or dessert.
Focus on the mood: Symbols and colors are an important part of Chinese New Year celebrations. A round table signifies wholeness. Red and gold represent good fortune and prosperity. Decorate the room and the table with red and gold accents, from paper lanterns to table linens, candles, gold confetti, gold-coin candies and red lacquered chopsticks, as well as traditional oranges or tangerines. Buy special red envelopes (lai see) at a Chinese stationery store and include a message, chocolate coins or a ticket for a fun door prize inside.
Plan a tasty menu: Choose foods that can be mostly made in advance, like the classic-style favorites included here. You can serve individual courses, or set everything out as a bountiful buffet.
Chinese New Year is all about wrapping up the old year and welcoming a bright future, filled with good things, good times and good food. A grand feast is at the heart of all Chinese New Year celebrations, in which family members and loved ones gather amidst plentiful amounts of food in which symbolism abounds — a whole fish for surplus and prosperity, a chicken for family togetherness and joy. The bountiful feast is meant to bring about abundance and wealth for the new year.
The horse, which represents the seventh year of the 12-year Chinese Zodiac calendar, is one of China’s favorite animals. According to Chinese, lore, since the horse was a means of transportation before the automobile age, it is a symbol of traveling, as well as a sign of speedy success.
If you were born in 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, or 2014 you were born under the sign of the horse.
Famous people born under the sign of the horse include Davy Crockett, James Dean, Clint Eastwood, and Harrison Ford, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Janet Jackson, Mike Tyson, former U.S. Supreme Court Judge Sandra Day O’Connor, President Teddy Roosevelt, and Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
Try some of these recipes to bring about a year of good fortune.
Noodles are a traditional food for Chinese New Year: their length symbolizes longevity.
8 ounces Chinese egg noodles or pasta noodles (such as linguini or angel hair)
3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarsely shredded carrot
2 to 4 medium scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarsely shredded daikon radish (optional)