By Stephen Blaxhall
And next... Another wonderful celebration in Chinese New Year, on January 28th, 2017. Also known as the Spring Festival, it is based on the lunisolar calendar and the phase of the moon.
Chinese New Year is a festival of eating. One of the most popular dishes, for the Chinese of Singapore and Malaysia, is the multi-coloured and viscerally impressive Yusheng, or raw fish salad.
Yusheng (鱼生), originally thought to have originated in China’s southern Guangdong region, not only translates into “raw fish", but when pronounced in Mandarin, also sounds like, an increase in abundance (余升). And in Guangdong, where the local dialect is Cantonese, the term of lo hei (捞起) is used, which also sounds like rising abundance.
Auspicious wishes are said out loud when the ingredients, usually fish and raw vegetables, and condiments, such as plum sauce and sesame oil, are added into the base. The salad is then vigorously tossed by those participating in the meal, in the hope of bringing about ample abundance, prosperity, and good fortune in the year ahead.
Yusheng is usually only found during the Chinese New Year period, and is traditionally served on ren ri, the seventh day of New Year. The dish can be found in almost every Chinese restaurant and coffee shop on the Malaya peninsular.
A quick Yusheng recipe: Mix raw fish (salmon is a good choice) with radish, carrots, cucumber, capsicum, pickled ginger, parsley & chopped nuts. Dress with plum sauce and lemon juice, water and sesame oil.
Why does Chinese New Year move around?
By Lilli Barto
In short, because it is based on the moon. Although, officially, China uses the Gregorian calendar (the same one used in Western culture) the traditional calendar is still used to calculate the dates of festivals and celebrations, as well as the luckiest days to hold weddings, move house, or start a business. It is a lunisolar calendar, which means that the date gives an indication of the season (as with a solar calendar) and the phase of the moon. Basically, it takes into account both where the earth is in its rotation around the sun, and where the moon is in its cycle.
Unlike the Gregorian calendar, years are not numbered sequentially continuing forever. Each year is assigned an element (water, earth, fire, metal, or air) and an animal (one of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs). There are five elements and 12 animals so the entire cycle repeats every 60 years. The cycles themselves are numbered, but not the years within them.