I see red I see red I see red. Shanghai (and the rest of China) is awash with red and gold in the build-up to the New Year which falls on the 31st of January this year. The color red is loaded with cultural meaning in China – it symbolizes happiness, vitality and good luck.
If you happen to be a ‘horse’ (1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002) watch out! as superstition dictates that you will have bad luck this year. BUT you can encourage good luck by wearing jade jewelry on the left side of your body and by wearing red clothing every day (which could explain the piles of red underwear that I’ve seen currently on sale)
Hundreds of millions of people journey home at this time of year to feast on some important festive foods such as fish because its Chinese name, ‘yu’, sounds very similar to the Chinese word for a surplus, Dumplings which symbolise wealth, and mandarins as they are seen to represent gold and wealth. Nian gao (New Year Cake) is a festive dessert made from glutinous rice and it is considered lucky, as nian gao sounds a lot like the way of saying ‘higher year’ in Chinese and rice dumplings are eaten as their round shape is a symbol of family reunion.
Chinese schools have 3 weeks vacation at this time of year. Our children’s school has one and we are heading to the Philippines and are looking forward to some nature. The Philippines are not reputed to have fine cuisine but I’m sure to find something yummy.
‘Shanghighs‘: We’ve been having particularly nice weather this past week and I was wondering if the Chinese New Year is commonly called the Spring Festival because of this. However I’ve been that these high temperatures (18degrees celsius) are very unusual for this time of year.
‘Shanglows‘: ‘Dr. Zhang Xiaodong, a 31-year-old surgeon at the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Hospital, died on Saturday, and tests a day later showed he had contracted the H7N9 strain of avian influenza’ (NYTimes)
‘Shangunusuals‘: The Natural History Museum was not quite what I was expecting. I think that the human embryos in jars were a little too frightening for Blanche as were the mummified bodies for Antoine.