The 1st month of the year of the horse is almost over. We had “abacus beads” and “good luck Chinese New Year Salad”. You might ask, “why these names?”
The answer: China has an area of almost 9,6 million sq km compared to Switzerland which has an area of a little more than 41000 sq km. The population was always huge. Today the former has a population of 1,4 billions compared to Switzerland’s approximate 8 millions. The Chinese majority were extremely poor rural peasants. When the harvest was good, every one was happy because there was enough for all. When the harvest was bad their landlords, their warloads and the feudal lords took their share, without batting an eye. This happened often enough because there were wars and natural disasters. This very hungry folk had a dream: food and that little bit more. Therefore the earnest and eager acceptance of making money and living well.
Here in the West people make resolutions on the last day of the year to improve the new year which starts on the next day. The Chinese make wishes instead of resolutions for their new year. It starts with the written character of good fortune and blessing turned upside-down pasted in the middle of the entrance door which symbolises that good fortune and blessings has arrived.
Each item of food served at the altar or the reunion dinner bears a significance. Traditional Chinese businesses made their accounts with the abacus. Hence abacus seeds as wish for a good business year when one could count the income and profits.
The good luck salad comprises the following items with their corresponding symbols:
green like lettuce or spring onions for eternal youth and growth
red like carrot or beetroot for vigour, strength and power
fish sounds like surplus and signifies just that, while
crushed peanuts or sesame is for a house full of gold and silver.
Everywhere on earth, the poor could not afford to have meat for their meals, therefore meat, be it chicken, pork, beef or mutton is a must, naturally only for the non vegetarians. The rich Chinese would even provide themselves with chicken and pork and beef (which is tabu for those praying to the Goddess of Merci). Mutton is often shunned by all of them because of its strong smell.
The Cantonese if they could afford it, would definitely ensure that fatt choy, hair vegetable which sounded like” to get rich” is a part of the menu. This ingredient does look like hairs but it has no taste of its own.
14th Feb. is the end of the New Year Festivities. Here is a link with interesting tales on the tradition:
Look at these lanterns:
As the 1st month of the horse year ends only on the 1st March, here are my wishes for a very blessed 2014 to each and every one of you according the symbols mentioned above.
2nd Event in the Year of the Horse
Where: Oerlikon, 5 minutes’ walk from Oerlikon Railway Station
Starter – stuffed mushroom soya sauce
Salad – good luck Chinese New Year Salad, radish, carrots, various pickles, sesame seeds
Main course: ikan asam pedas (fish in hot tangy spicy sauce) with seasonal green and rice vermicelli
Tea or Coffee
CHF 100 per person (incl. 1/2 bottle of wine)
go to make-your-reservation