Today is the start of the Year of the Sheep. Don’t ask me what that really means as the only information I get about my zodiac sign is when I’m at a Chinese restaurant with a placemat that explains what each animal represents. 😉 What I DO know is that the New Year calls for delicious food, family time, dragon dances, red envelopes and fireworks.
My favorite Chinese New Year traditional food is the pineapple cake. My parents tipped me off that the Isabelle brand sold at Costco is famous in Taiwan, so those are legit, authentic pineapple cakes. Mmm… It will be very hard not to eat them all by myself in one sitting.
My other favorite part about Chinese New Year growing up was receiving red envelopes (hong bao) of money from relatives. My grandmother always gave us crisp brand new bills. She would actually ask for the new bills from the bank as those were the only ones acceptable to give in a hong bao. I squirreled away all my hong bao money to save for a big purchase (combined with birthday and Christmas money). I still remember when I bought my Walkman after waiting very patiently for a year. Ha!
Money and food aside, the most important aspect of celebrating the New Year was being with family. Since we won’t be able to make the trek up to Dallas to be with my parents and grandparents, we’ll be cooking up noodles for long life at home and then taking the kids to the Chinatown shopping center in North Austin to watch the dancing and performances.
From my family to yours, Happy New Year! Gong xi fah tsai. Hong bao nah lai!