Happy Chinese New Year

At Audley Villages, we love an excuse to get dressed up for a themed night packed with delicious cuisine and lots of smiles. That's exactly what we're preparing for this Chinese New Year.

Many Audley restaurants, including The Orangery at St Elphin's Park and Blandy's Bistro at Inglewood will be celebrating Chinese New Year tomorrow evening.

Although Chinese New Year officially 'starts' on 5th February, it actually lasts until 19th February. Here are a few somewhat surprising traditions and superstitions you may not already know about Chinese New Year...

Little Year comes first

Preparations for the Chinese New Year celebrations begin on 28th January (That's the Solar date. The Lunar date is 23rd December) and last until New Years Eve (4th February). It's tradition to clean your house during this time, to sweep away bad luck. Sugar melons, baked wheat cakes and tofu soup are the food of choice during Little Year.

New Years Eve

This evening sees families enjoy the reunion dinner. After dinner, children traditionally receive red envelopes and everyone waits up to see in the new year together.

Spring Festival

Then comes Spring Festival, which runs from 5th February until 19th February. The first day of New Year was originally called Yuan Dan meaning "the beginning". It is a day of blessings and greetings between neighbours. The ancient Chinese analysed the stars, moon and weather to predict the fortunes of the year. Cleaning or sweeping are forbidden on this day, else good fortune may be swept away. Several other events follow the traditional new year on 5th, all incorporating traditions, food dishes (dumplings and baked bread among them), superstitions and beliefs. 

Finally, the Lantern Festival

Preparations begin on 16th February, for the Lantern Festival which is held on 19th February. Over the next five days, people create lanterns and play games. On a full moon, moon-gazing amidst lanterns is traditionally the best way to celebrate.

The Chinese Zodiac is represented by 12 animals, the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog (2018) and Pig (2019). The elements metal, water, wood, fire and earth also symbolise characteristics in someone born in that year.

2019 is the Year of the Pig, which is the symbol of good fortune and wealth. People born in 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995 and 2007 are also Pigs in the Chinese Zodiac.

The Pig is Yin, not Yang and in 2019 the Pig represents the element Earth. Believers consider that babies born in 2019 are expected to be social butterflies, with a strong support network in both work and life, yet aren't likely to be naturally romantic.

According to the Chinese calendar, men born in the Year of the Pig are optimistic and gentle, and very focused on their goals. Women born in the Year of the Pig are said to be very genine, easygoing and full of excitement.

Most compatible with a Pig is a Tiger, Rabbit or Goat.

Least compatible is a Snake or Monkey.

Lucky colours are yellow, grey and brown (unlucky are blue and green)

Lucky numbers are 2, 5 and 8 (unlucky are 1, 7 and 9)

Lucky mineral is Agate

According to the calendar, anyone born in the Year of the Pig is said to be gentle and encourage everyone to live in harmony. They are well suited to a career in charity, care or coaching. So who knows, perhaps many a baby born in 2019 will grow up to become an Audley carer.

Credit: Traditions, beliefs, superstitions and horoscopes courtesty of https://chinesenewyear.net

Whether you're a gentle and caring Pig or any other animal in the Chinese Zodiac, mot of us encounter care at some point in our lives, be it in a caring career or in benefiting from the care of someone else one day.

Some of our restaurants will be celebrating Chinese New Year tomorrow. As th new year technically lasts until 19th February, it's the perfect excuse to dine out on any day of the week.