Chinese New Year – Year of the Tiger

Posted By | Posted On Feb 02, 2010

In mid February, the Chinatown community will be celebrating the Lunar New Year. 2010 (Year 4707 according to the lunar calendar) will usher in the Year of the Tiger. If you were born in 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, or 1998, you need to pay special attention.

In Western cultures, the Lion is “King of the Jungle”, but to the Chinese, it’s the Tiger that deserves that particular honor. The regal stripes displayed on the tiger’s coat, symbolize the ancient opposite forces found in nature, commonly known as Yin and Yang.

The third animal in the 12-year pantheon of the Chinese astrological zodiac, the tiger is considered to be one of the most dynamic, and those born in a “tiger year” display the Yin and the Yang in every aspect of their personality. Fearless, but reckless; loving, but fickle; dependable, yet also a bit irresponsible, they exhibit a primal desire for adventure, and are often willing to risk everything in pursuit of the thrill. They have a reputation for being self-centered at times, and love to be the center of attention. Tigers hate to be ignored. At the same time, they are sensitive, and capable of great love.

Speaking of love, this year’s Chinese New Year begins on February 14th. If you would like to celebrate both Valentine’s Day and the Lunar New Year, there is nothing more romantic than cooking with your special someone. Light a fire in the fireplace, put on some sensual music and do what they do in Beijing; cook up a nice batch of Jiao Zi to share with the person you love.

In northern China, families spend New Year’s Eve together making Jiao Zi. These crescent shaped dumplings are thought to bring wealth during the coming year due to their resemblance to ancient Chinese ingots. Sometimes gold coins are hidden inside the Jiao Zi, and whoever finds it is assured of a prosperous up-coming year.

Jiao Zi are often called “Peking Ravioli” on American restaurant menus. The name was coined in the 1950’s by Boston cooking legend Helen Chen.

Recipes

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