Chinese New Year – the year of the rat!
On the 25 January the most important date in the Chinese calendar will be upon us, Chinese New Year! Determined by the lunar calendar, the date changes every year and is always on the first date of the new lunar year. There are 12 zodiac animals that are celebrated each year on a 12 year cycle, and this year we are entering the year of the rat. The Chinese New Year is a celebration of hope for good fortune, which stems originally from praying for a good harvest year. In particular, the colour red is associated with good luck, happiness and success, so decorations to celebrate this time of year are mainly red and people exchange red envelopes either in person or digitally.
New year success and fortune
As the festival centres around bringing new year success and fortune, there are some dos and don’ts for encouraging good luck into your life. For example, sweeping and cleaning during the festival is considered bad, as it could be sweeping or washing away good luck. There is a special day dedicated to cleaning before the festival begins in order to sweep away bad luck and make way for the new year’s good fortune. The use of any negative words such as pain or death is also considered bad luck due to the possibility of it jinxing the following year to bring such hardship.
Time to feast
Chinese New Year is also a time for feasting on delicious foods, some of which are associated with good luck. Fish is associated with prosperity, as its name sounds like surplus in Chinese. Dumplings are one of the most popular foods eaten at this time of year and associated with wealth and a fresh start. Tangerines, whether eaten or on show are associated with good luck as the name resembles the word for success in Chinese.
Taking care of your gut
Most importantly though, Chinese New Year is a time to be with family and friends. The festival is celebrated by up to a ¼ of the whole world’s population, eliciting mass migration in order for people to get home or travel to spend the time with loved ones. Travelling can disrupt our gut health and so it is important to keep this in mind if you are travelling long distances at this special time of year. Keeping hydrated, trying to maintain a balanced and consistent dietary pattern and ensuring you get enough sleep when adjusting to different time zones are some of the things that you can do to support the maintenance of a healthy and happy gut.
Try your own gut friendly meal
Remember this is a time to look forward and be hopeful. So, be kind to yourself and your gut, take time to relax and enjoy time with loved ones.