The Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year) is fast approaching. As you can guess it will be today’s topic as in so many other blogs. Sadly, I have never experienced it in China as both me and my wife had never time to fly back and visit her family during that period of the year. So what‘s left for someone like us to experience at least something of the real Chinese celebrations? You guessed right, not so much here in Finland but we try to survive with whats available. Here is some of the stuff we can do in this icy country:
Even Helsinki has its own Chinese New Year celebration since 2007. This year the event starts around 3.30pm in the city center. There will be Kung Fu performances, Lion dances, CCTV Gala life on a big screen, Dragon dances, Music performances, Fireworks and a lot of food stalls. As you can see it has some interesting stuff but the problem with the whole thing is that the entire event is outside. Now let me tell you that being outside in Finland during January means temperatures between -10°C to -20°C (14°F to-4°F) and this means it is no real pleasure to be there for several hours. This year we will avoid this event (as we have several times before as it is too cold) because my wife is during that time in her 39th pregnancy week and it would be just too much for her.
Hanging out with friends
Yes, this is pretty much a classic for many Chinese abroad during New Year. What to say except it is most likely a very nice place to be if you are far away from home and want to have good food and enjoy your time with friends without freezing to death in Helsinki center. To be honest, I have never experience such gathering but I heard about it from other Chinese and saw great pictures.
Watching TV at home and overeat on food
This is my longtime favorite during all celebrations in winter time. What is better than being inside a warm and cozy home while snow and ice are threatening human kind just beyond your windows? Right, nothing! This year again my wife and I will be home, watch TV and eat a lot of Chinese food. Here is a little list of what has to be there for us on New Year at home.
- CCTV New Year Gala (中国中央电视台春节联欢晚会). This is a pretty popular show as it has according to Wikipedia a viewership of over 700 million. As we don’t have any means to install a satellite dish here to get Chinese TV we just watch it like many other over streaming platforms such as PPS.
- Jiaozi 饺子 in all its different forms. Okay, just a couple of them. This year again my wife will prepare some of these delicious little things with meat and with vegetable filling. As she prefers the boiled version of it the majority will be of course swimming in boiling water. Thankfully she also has a big heart and will fry a selection just for me.
- Tangyuan 汤圆 will be also joining the food table. These lovely little things you can easily get from most Asian Stores. They are frozen and only need to be put into boiling water. For us we will go for the red bean paste filling and the peanut filling (for me again!).
- Sunflower and melon seeds. Nothing is better than these seeds to get every corner of your sofa and rest of the apartment dirty within seconds.
- Mandarin oranges. Alright, can’t really explain this one but they just have to be there (probably because of the refreshing taste)
- Some Chinese beer. Here it usually fails. In Finland you can only get standard Tsingtao Export for 2.60€ a bottle (or something around that price) and that is just too much so I will most likely end up with green tea and coffee for the entire day. I would love to fly quickly to China, grab myself a pack of Hans Beer and fly back but my finances are not really allowing this option…
What you usually do during Lunar New Year when you are in a foreign country? Any additional tips for us?