Year of the Sheep

It is that time of year again.  CHINESE NEW YEAR.  I write this on the very eve that ushers in the new year of the Lunar calendar.

happy new year 2015

I have made a tradition of celebrating it in our household.  “Why Chinese new year?” I’ve had friends ask.  Good question.  If I really sit down and think about it, I suppose initially it was a way to get back to my “roots.”  I never celebrated the Lunar new year growing up, although my Chinese-American Grandma did teach us to say “Gong He Fat Choy” (there are many varied spellings of it) on new years day.  There was something so special and mysterious about visiting Grandma.  She had decorations in her house I had never seen anywhere else.  It was scattered with porcelain figurines of wise old men with long, slinky mustaches, velvet paintings of birds, gold knickknacks and oriental rugs.  It was exotic and I wanted to be a part of it.

Now, as an adult, I have Asian “flavored” decor strewn all about my own house.  I’ve always been attracted to it.  Is it a yearning to connect to my ancestors?  Perhaps.  Is it a way for me to remember Mary?  Maybe.  Is it an excuse to have an Asian-themed party when no one else is?  Yes!

After looking back at old my old party invitations, I realized that the FIRST Chinese New Year party I ever threw was 12 years ago, on the last Year of the Sheep (Ram/Goat).

Year of the Sheep2015Although I have not had a party EVERY year since then, I can say that it has been a steady tradition for the last 6 years!

Chinese_dragon_masks_printable

Last weekend’s party offered a new art form:  Coloring! (well, new to my parties anyway!)  I discovered a WONDERFUL online source for free coloring pages here:  http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/chinese-scene-colouring-page-0

Here’s a link to the masks we colored (above):  http://www.firstpalette.com/Craft_themes/Wearables/chinesedragonmask/chinesedragonmask.html

Chinese_New_Year_decorations

We had our annual decorations out, as well as a few new ones this year.

Gong_Hey_Fat_Choy

My friend Katrina makes a DELICIOUS Asian salad, and I asked if I could feature her recipe on this blog post.  It was a huge hit at a recent party, so get your taste buds ready!

KATRINA’S FRESH ASIAN HERB SALAD

Ingredients:

SALAD:

6tbs  Chopped fresh basil

1/3 c Chopped fresh mint

1/3 c chopped fresh cilantro

1/3 c Shredded carrots
2 small heads of butter lettuce
1 lb cooked shrimp
6-8 oz Bean thread noodles
Peanut DRESSING:
3 tbsp Fish sauce
1/4 Cup Lime juice
1 tsp Powdered garlic

1 1/4 cup Siracha sauce

1/3 cup Hoisin sauce
2 1/2  tbsp Crunchy peanut butter
  1. Place noodles in a bowl and soak in hot water until tender.  (You can use tap water if you’d like). Strain.
  2. Chop noodles into small pieces (Caution:  Noodles are a little difficult to hold on to!  PLEASE BE CAREFUL!!!)
  3. In another large bowl, mix all of your fresh chopped veggies and shrimp.  Add noodles.
  4. For the Dressing:  Whisk together and pour over salad just before serving.  Mix salad and dressing well.  Katrina says you might want to double the dressing recipe, because it is REALLY good!

I hope this inspires some of you to celebrate a new holiday this year.  Or at LEAST try a new recipe!  This holiday is meant to welcome Spring, as it is often called “Spring Festival” in China.  I don’t know about you, but I could certainly be done with Winter for the year!

Welcome Spring Rain_DUFu_Chinese poetry

Some other helpful links I found on-line related to Chinese New Year are here:

Chinese door couplets

Traditional Chinese Door Couplets

Paper Cutting Techniques

Year of the Ram Coloring Page

Chinese Poetry

Do YOU do anything special for the new year?

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One thought on “Year of the Sheep

  1. I think I still have the invite from that party somewhere! I remember it was a fun time & hope that you are enjoying this one as well 🙂

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