I absolutely love the Lunar New Year and all it’s celebrations. This is the Year of the Wood Horse, which just happens to be my Chinese sign! I recall that when I was younger and living in California there was always something going on for the Lunar New Year. I loved the parades and the firework displays that were so different from the standard Fourth of July faire I was used to seeing. I didn’t think much of it until a friend of my mother’s, Gretchen, gave me a beautiful red envelope with the most delicate gold calligraphy. I didn’t want to open it because I didn’t want to rip it. Gretchen helped me open it carefully and inside was a hand written note with a blessing for the new year as well as an invitation to come over and cook with her. Inside the note, folded quite ingenuously, was a $20 bill. I’ll point out as a child I was dirt poor and $20 was a small fortune. I’d never felt so special in all of my life up to this point. I’m guessing it was the fact that a non-family member thought I was worth both time and money. I’ve never forgotten it and it’s one of my fondest memories from childhood. As an adult, I taught grade school children in an after school program for a year. For one of our art sessions, I had them construct envelopes, makes messages for their friends or family as blessings, and decorate the outside with gold paint. They practiced drawing the characters so carefully and were so very proud of their creations. Many of the parents were quite pleased with the project and I got a lot of positive feedback. I was very happy to share a small piece of my childhood with those kids and their families. I hope this excerpt from my personal life and these links will help you create a little Lunar New Year magic of your own!
Ikea has a new collection based on Chinese Design? Check out the pieces over at Design Milk!
Six lucky foods for the new year from Food&Wine!
By all accounts it’s going to be a rough year, especially for this Wood Horse!