“Zero to Hero”Day 23: Chinese New Year Decorations and Sweets

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Another Snow day yesterday for us here…. It’s okay because we got extra time to prepare for the Chinese New Year and I got to catch up with the ZERO TO HERO wordpress blog challenge!

Yesterday we made a meihwa new year’s tree.  I found the meihwa/plum blossoms at JoAnn..

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Strings and red envelope (Ang Pao)

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Then we just hang them on the tree!

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VOILA!  The Chinese New Year Tree…. Back home, you can find big tree like this BIG meihwa tree ….  They are more decorated too… But I like mine!  I like that we are teaching our kiddos the tradition!

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Here is the rest of the decoration!

1. Meihwa tree:  Do you know mei hwa is PLUM BLOSSOMS! Plum blossoms is one of my favorite flower because they are very unique! These are the facts why they are so special! Do you know that  plum blossoms are winter flowers.  It usually bloom in late winter or early spring.  They are kind of similar to cherry blossoms.  In DC there are cherry blossoms tree everywhere and they usually bloom in March.They will blossom from a tree branch that seems dead, came out before the leaves!  A flower that came out of what seems a “dead bark/branch, the blossoms show courage, hope, and beauty!

2. Oranges = gold, Tangerine=luck…. So having oranges and tangerines during Chinese new year celebrations is  a must because they symbolically mean good luck and prosperity!

3. A red envelope (紅包, hóngbāo) … red is for good luck for Chinese people 🙂 This was always what I was waiting for when I was a child back home!  You will receive it ONLY after you “pai pai” or pay respect by putting your fist together and say,” Kiong hi, Kiong hi, Xin Nian Kuai Le or Gong Xi Fa Choi”  Loosely translated : Happy New Year!” Usually married working couples would give them to children and elderly.

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4. Golden peanuts on the glass container to the right of the tree represents longevity. Chocolate in pretty red and gold wrapper next to it also means prosperity!

5. Tray of togetherness next to the oranges.  In the middle is kumquat candies for wealth and prosperity. Kumquat is a type of oranges.The big flat orange color candies are lotus root candies  for purity. Next are candies with watermelon seeds inside for fertility, joy and happiness. The colorful coconut ribbons  for togetherness and family unity! Next to the coconut ribbons are lotus seeds for prosperity and many kiddos!  Candied melon for good health and growth. I have to skip the one compartment because I don’t know what the flat candy is. The round white candies to the left of the orange lotus root are longans for bringing many good sons!  🙂 There are 8 trays… 8 is a lucky number for Chinese… Usually you would include 5 spice peanuts.  I don’t know how to make it but if you would like to make the peanuts, here is the recipe for five spice long life peanuts

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Hope you are having fun preparing for the Chinese New Year!  It is so hard to keep the family heritage and tradition alive in our children’s lives… This was the most important celebration that I celebrate when I was home.  In America, we will try the best we can to keep it alive.  Here is another Asian’s family account to keep the tradition alive too. She has an interesting blog as well that you may enjoyed! Little Passport

Let’s celebrate the coming of the YEAR OF THE HORSE!

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