Happy Chinese New Year!

This year is the year of the rat. The rat was the first animal to arrive at the Jade Emperor’s party by tricking the ox into giving it a lift on its back, and then jumping off just as they were about to reach the line. Mmm, sounds like a rat to me!

The rat symbolizes wealth and abundance in Chinese philosophy and how you will fare in the year of the rat depends upon which animal represents you!

The forecast for me is that the year of the rat will bring some misfortune in some areas of my life but good fortune in my career. Forewarned is forearmed and the advice is to keep fit and healthy to ward off any misfortune. Sounds like I’m already on the right path then.

Chinese New Year started today and carries on through to Tuesday. We don’t celebrate CNY anymore. We used to light fireworks at our front and back doors in the past, to ward off misfortune and to make room for good fortune, but as we grew older, we became more sensitive to the well being of our pets and the pets in the neighborhood. So we stopped that tradition many, many years ago.

Tomorrow I want to try cooking a dish that symbolizes CNY. I’ve never cooked it before and I also don’t have all the ingredients, but I’m going to try to make a healthier version that will hopefully still taste as nice.

The dish is braised dried oysters with sea moss and pork. The Chinese words for dried oysters and sea moss sound almost like the words used to wish you a happy CNY – we say “Kong hei fat choi” which means wishing you prosperity and good fortune. And so we eat the dish that symbolizes prosperity and good fortune.

The tradition is to start the new year with family dinner on New Year’s Eve, but I only thought about it afterwards. The other tradition is to also have an even number of dishes on the table, and as cooking is not my forte, I will have to find another popular dish to go with it. Although 2 or 4 dishes are frowned upon and 6 or 8 are considered lucky, I doubt that I will cook that many dishes!

Anyway, as I contemplate the possible consequences of my rather impulsive decision (I can’t back out, the pork has already been defrosted) let me leave you with the best of wishes for a fabulous CNY, filled with prosperity and good fortune. May the year of the rat bring you only the best. Kong hei fat choi!

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