While people the world over prepare to start life afresh at the beginning of each calendar year, many Chinese eagerly await the arrival of the Chinese New Year. Based on the lunar calendar, the date for the Chinese New Year changes every year, and this year it will be on 31 January.
Incidentally, the start of each Chinese New Year corresponds with one of the twelve animal Chinese zodiac signs. For instance, 2014 is the year of the Horse and those born during the years of the horse will enjoy good health, romance and career progression in 2014.
Let us take a brief look at the evolution of this fascinating Chinese festival, its early traditions and modern day gifting customs.
History of the Chinese New Year
The earliest record of the Chinese New Year dates to 14th century B.C, when the Shang dynasty was in power. The traditional Chinese New Year was celebrated between the second half of the twelfth month and the first few weeks of the New Year.
During this period, work literally came to a standstill as people shifted their entire attention to preparing for the festival. Homes were cleaned thoroughly to get rid of inauspicious energies, as well as to appease the Gods who were believed to descend from the heavens during this time. Scrolls with lucky messages were hung on household gates and firecrackers were set-off to scare the evil spirits.
Families travelled long distances to reconnect with each other. Food always figured prominently in the celebrations with the entire family gathering for meals of fish, noodles, savoury dumplings, and sweet sticky rice cake.
Modern Day Chinese New Year Celebrations
Today Chinese communities worldwide celebrate the Chinese New Year by making offerings to household deities, wearing new clothes, hosting a banquet for friends and family, and partaking in festive parades involving traditional lion and dragon dances. As in earlier times, the colour red features prominently in money gifting envelopes, paper decorations and lanterns which are placed outside homes. For many young Chinese, the New Year holidays are simply a time to relax.
In Hong Kong, the Chinese New Year is marked by a three-day public holiday, with the festivities including a grand firework display at Victoria Harbour and a traditional New Year parade. Since the festival also marks the arrival of the spring season, it has become synonymous with the Spring Lantern Festival, which lasts for about 15 days from the date of the Chinese New Year.
Classic Chinese New Year Dishes
While the significance of the Chinese New Year and the scale of festivities have evolved overtime, at its core the festival remains a celebration of family ties, and what better way to mark the occasion than by serving traditional dishes to friends and family. Whole fish and chicken, long noodles, turnip cake, spring rolls, dried shiitake mushrooms, mustard greens, and rice pudding form part of a typical Chinese New Year feast.
For the Chinese, food holds great symbolic significance. For instance, serving a whole chicken is auspicious for family togetherness, while serving a whole fish symbolizes abundance in the year ahead. Likewise, long noodles represent a long life and spring rolls symbolize wealth because of the resemblance to gold bars. Fruits such as oranges and pomelos (a large grapefruit) signify wealth and luck. Abalone (sea snail) a luxury item signifies good fortune.
Gift Hampers for the Chinese New Year
The 2014 Chinese New Year is almost here and exchanging gifts with friends, family, and business associates including customers, suppliers and partners, is an important part of conveying good wishes for the year ahead.
Since the focus is on getting together with the family, everyone appreciates a gift hamper containing alcohol, tea, fruits, chocolates, and traditional food items, as a New Year’s gift. Besides, sending a gift hamper is great way to reach out to all the important people in your life, many of whom you may not find the time to visit during the New Year period.
This year Gift Hamper Hong Kong, brings to you an exclusive range of over twenty gift hampers designed specifically for Chinese New Year gifting. Each of our luxurious Chinese New Year gift hamper consists of a beautifully designed red gift box, complimentary message card and a selection of premium traditional and modern food delicacies.
For instance, the Healthy Life gift hamper contains seasonal fruits such as apples, kiwis, oranges, pears, strawberries, dragon fruit, pineapple, mini water melon, honey dew melon and papaya, as well as a 750ml bottle of G.H.Mumm Champagne, On Kee Premium Varigated mushrooms, HKJEBN XO Sauce and HKJEBN New Zealand canned abalone.
The more elaborate CNY Tradition gift hamper contains HKJEBN shiitake mushroom, HKJEBN New Zealand canned abalone, English Spinnaker Lumpfish caviar, French Delpeyrat goose foie gras, French Grand Vin De Bordeaux red wine, and English gluten free chocolate chip biscuits, besides several other delectable items.
The Fortune Hamper is an ideal choice for gifting to an important business associate. It contains Kee Wah bakery butter eggrolls, assorted tea cookies, sesame biscuits, new year cake, Kee Gold label shiitake mushroom, HKJEBN New Zealand canned abalone, French Grand Vin De Bordeaux red wine and Peninsula Yunnan Aged Pu Er Tea, among other items.
We also specialize in corporate gifting. Whether you are looking to gift hampers or flowersthis Chinese New Year, we can help. Each gift hamper or flower basket will be customised with your company logo. Send us your details and we will get in touch with you within the day.
Ordering our gift hampers is as easy as placing an online order on our website. Alternatively, you can give us a call (2730 0885/ 2730 0839) or drop us an email([email protected]). We accept orders all days of the week and offer free delivery within the Hong Kong metropolitan area.
Visit our CNY gift hamper section to view the entire range of Chinese New Year gift hampers