Chinese New Year 2021 traditions and recipes
- Feeding the Family
- Published on Thursday, 11 February 2021 17:12
- Last Updated on 11 February 2021
- Monica Costa
- 0 Comments
Chinese New Year 2021 is set to be a different celebration compared to previous years, with national restrictions in place preventing the usual festivities taking place. In China, the occasion is a public holiday and people usually enjoy a whole week to celebrate. London Mums are going to celebrate in style by preparing family themed meals with kids involved.
Here’s what you need to know about Chinese New Year 2021.
2021 is the year of the Ox, an animal that symbolises strength and determination, which is very relatable during these current circumstances. It starts from 12 February (Chinese lunar New Year Day) and lasting until 30 January 2022. In Chinese culture, the Ox is a valued animal because of its role in agriculture, and similarly in the zodiac, the Ox is seen as hardworking, positive and honest.
New year celebrations began in China in 2,300BC with Emperors Yao and Shun. In many Chinese cities traditional shows featuring dragon dances, lion dances and imperial performances like an emperor’s wedding take place. Alongside these theatrical activities there are fairs where traditional Chinese products and food are on offer. Chinese new year is associated with an explosion of variation of the red colour in decorations, gifts and clothes.
Chinese people usually have a family dinner at home and then celebrate through the night with fireworks at midnight pretty much like Saint Silvester’s celebrations in the Western World.
Chinese children receive money in red envelopes that keep away the evil forces and grant a long and healthy life. If only… On the 15th day of the celebrations, there’s the Yuan Xiao Festival, also known as the Lantern Festival, starts and involves people launching paper lanterns into the skies. It’s a striking spectacle.
I love Chinese cuisine and all Asian food, generally. Here are some recipes I have tried over the years (not all specifically Chinese but with an oriental flavour) that are great to make with the children.
Recipe: Roasties with a quick roast pork and Asian slaw
Recipe: Duck, Chard and Star Anise by Chef Alexander Boyd
My all time favourite Asian recipe is Pad Thai. I have made it a few times from scratch but during the pandemic I have found a kit by Grab Thai Go that includes the main ingredients which makes it easy to prepare in just 15 minutes.
Cooking with one of these Grab Thai Go kits is a fast alternative to creating genuine Thai dishes. Little preparation is required and full instructions are provided, just add your meat, seafood, fish or vegetables and within 15 minutes you will feel like a Thai local with a delicious meal to enjoy at home now that we cannot go to restaurants.
Already an established business in Thailand, Grab Thai Go was founded by Thai Entrepreneur Preeya Choojan. She created the range as a result of not being able to find any Thai meal kits and sauces in the UK with the vibrancy and taste as those she enjoys in Thailand. To achieve the genuine depth of flavour every element is Thai-made, using nothing but local, seasonal ingredients. There is nothing fake about these kits! What I also like about this product is that for every pack sold, they donate 1 Thai baht to The Education for Development Foundation. The money changes lives through education. It’s a way of spreading happiness. While we enjoy a Grab Thai Go meal, Thai children enjoy an education that sets them for a lifetime of success. www.edfthai.org/en
My favourite cookbook including the most succulent Oriental recipes is Mamma Makes – Recipes & Stories from Multicultural Britain: Just Like Mamma Used To Make.
At the end of a lovely Asian meal, a tea ritual just enhances the pleasure of that tasting experience. Personally, I love to serve my tea in proper beautifully looking tea pot and cups. My eyes needs pleasing too.
Tea is physically soothing, emotionally comforting and has also healing qualities. The simple act of sipping and savouring tea leaves in a cup elevates us above the chaos in life today.
There are no right or wrong tea rituals as long as it’s something that speaks to you, enveloping you in a state of relaxation and balance. For me it’s about the tranquillity and inner peace moment that gives me especially before bedtime as well as the creativity it sparks in me throughout the day. Our bodies release small amounts of cortisol into our blood stream in response to a crisis, which enables us to take whatever extraordinary actions are required to keep us alive and away from harm. Our excessively stressful lives even during pandemic cause most of us to secrete too much cortisol into our blood streams, leaving us open to serious chronic illnesses such as auto-immune diseases, high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease to name a few. Science agrees that even brief periods of relaxation can reduce cortisol levels, lower heart rates and make us feel less anxious and stressed.
A family tea ritual can provide an important sense of togetherness which strengthens family bonds, enhances our sense of belonging. A family tea ritual provides the opportunity to connect and share our thoughts and feelings. Establishing a tea ritual for our children provides tools they’ll need to help manage stress more effectively throughout their lives. Perhaps a special family tea pot like my new Oriental Hobnail Teapot made from stoneware and in Oriental Style Ceramic by Not Just Jugs. It’s so beautiful in its shiny bluette that I am super careful not to ruin it when practising the tea ritual. The tea tastes better from that pot because the high quality metal filter has been especially designed so that the lid may lock in to it, which stops it from falling out whilst pouring. The tea is pure as it gets well filtered. I simply cannot get enough tea.
Share your pictures of Chinese new year and your family tea ritual with me on our social media.
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Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums