“Three goats bring harmony” is an old favorite Chinese greeting for the Year of the Goat. It comes from Taoism. The third month has three yangs (阳 from yin-yang theory), and corresponds to earth-sky (in Eight Trigram theory), meaning harmony. Later the yang (阳) was replaced with the yang (羊) for goat, which sounds the same, creating the current greeting.
What to you mean the next Year of the Dragon is in 2024?
Keep reading, there is bound to be a fortune here that says if we eat the goats it will be the Year of the Dragon now…
The decorations involve the colour red and lucky images. Red is the main color for the spring festival, Chinese New Year and the Lantern Festival, as it is believed to be an auspicious color. Red lanterns, red underwear for the bears 🙂
Very popular around this time, peach blossoms are popular in decorations. The plant is considered sacred in China. The flowers are customarily placed in beautiful and valuable vases. The peach fruit represents longevity and that makes the fruit and its flowers very important to the Chinese, especially around this time. In addition, peach blossom symbolizes romance, prosperity, and growth.
The bright pink flowers of plum blossoms symbolize perseverance and reliability — two traits essential to be successful in life. They are very common around this time of the year in parks and gardens. This is one of the most important symbolic flowers for the Chinese. It represents endurance and courage. The plum, along with orchid (purity), bamboo (uprightness), and chrysanthemum (humility), constitute ‘the four nobles’.
We have decorated with cherry blossoms…
Certain fruits are eaten during the Chinese New Year period, such as mandarins, oranges and pomeloes. They are selected as they are particularly round and “golden” in color, symbolizing fullness and wealth, but more obviously for the lucky sound they bring when spoken. Eating pomeloes is thought to bring continuous prosperity. The more you eat, the more wealth it will bring, as the traditional saying goes. The Chinese for pomelo (柚 yòu /yo/) sounds like ‘to have’ (有 yǒu), except for the tone, and exactly like ‘again’ (又 yòu).
Eating and displaying oranges is believed to bring good luck and fortune due to their pronunciation, and even writing. The Chinese for orange is 橙 (chéng /chnng/), which sounds the same as the Chinese for ‘success’ (成). The orange looks like the sun and is aligned with the yang (positive) principle, thus being a highly auspicious symbol of abundance and happiness.
Grapes and plums are also symbolic of good luck, wealth, fortune, gold, prosperity and fertility. These serve as holy offerings in Buddhist temples and are also used in cooking, not to mention gifting among relatives.
It is traditional to place mandarins along with a red envelope next to children’s pillows in every Chinese household to bring them good fortune.
We have no doubt that if cherries were in season in wintery February in China, they would be on the menu! Red is the lucky colour of the day. The Chinese warrior-farmers feasted on cherries and plums as their summer dessert as far back as 600 BCE.
Fortune cookies on the other hand are served as a dessert in Chinese restaurants in the United States and some other countries, but are absent in China. The exact origin of fortune cookies is unclear, though various immigrant groups in California claim to have popularized them in the early 20th century, basing their recipe on a traditional Japanese cracker. Fortune cookies have been summarized as being “introduced by the Japanese, popularized by the Chinese, but ultimately … consumed by Americans.” And bears 🙂 They are crunchy and tasty…