The Chinese New Year of the Ox will come charging in on 12 February 2021.
Based on the lunar calendar, it tracks the moon’s orbit around the earth, which takes 27 to 28 days every month.
The solar calendar, on the other hand, is based on the 365 days the earth takes to rotate around the sun in a year and is divided also by 12 months. Known also as the Gregorian calender, it was first introduced in October 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII (as a minor modification of the Julian calendar).
The Lunar New Year is also known as the Spring Festival (Chinese), Seollal (Korean), Tet Nguyen Dan (Vietnamese), Tsagaan Sar (Mongolian), and Losar (Tibetan and Bhutanese). The Japanese used to celebrate the lunar calendar until 1873 when they switched to the Gregorian New Year.
It is, therefore, more accurate to refer to Lunar New Year as many races and cultures also celebrate it, and because it is based on the cycle of the moon. It is, however, equally accurate to refer to Chinese New Year of the Ox as the zodiac of that and the other 11 animals is Chinese in origin.
The Lunar New Year is a public holiday in China, Indonesia, South and North Korea, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and Singapore.
It is an occasion of great revelry in all the Chinatowns of the world.
The world’s oldest – established in 1594 – is in Manila.
Food is the most important aspect of the Lunar New Year.
Here in Singapore, we have established some unique snacks and dishes which have become our very own Chinese New Year classics.
The most traditional and classic is Yu Sheng or, literally, “Raw Fish”.
YU SHENG PAIRINGS
This Singapore must-have originates from Shunde, Guangdong, where fine slivers of raw fish are dipped or mixed with a sauce that can include peanut oil, ginger and shallot. The Shunde Yusheng is savoury, not sweet. The best Shunde Yusheng I have tasted is in Bing Sheng Restaurant, Guangzhou. I know of only one restaurant in Singapore that offers it but it has to be ordered in advance. This is Imperial Treasure. In Singapore, Yu Sheng evolved into something quite different and sweet. Great pairings are Moscato d’Asti, Sparkling (medium-sweet) Prosecco, Apple Cider, Shaoxing rice wine, Japanese Sake, medium-sweet Riesling and, perhaps the best of all, a Demi-Sec Champagne. Huat Ah!!
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