Sunday, April 26, 2009

Chinese New Year 2009

As seen on KMGH-TV 7

Year of the Ox: Lunar Year 4707

Chinese New Year Offers Symbols of Health, Wealth and Wisdom for 2009

The Chinese New Year of the Ox begins on January 26, 2009 and is celebrated for the next 15 days. More food is prepared and consumed during this holiday than any other time of the year, and much of the food has symbolic connotations.

Mary Lee Chin, a registered dietitian and first generation Chinese-American is encouraging everyone to hedge their bets this Chinese New Year and indulge in the foods that symbolize health, wealth and wisdom.

Mary Lee brings you New Years greeting from the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival. In our ninth year, it will be held at Sloan’s Lake Park this year on July 25 and 26

• Boat team registration for both adult and youth teams are now open.
• The diverse cultures of Hawaii will be featured at this year's 2009 festival to commemorate the 50th year of its statehood with special activities including a Hawaiian Lei Ceremony, Polynesian dancing, luau ceremonies and much more!
• The CDBF will also be featuring the second annual commemorative poster design contest with cash awards for the top three finalists.
• For more festival information and New Year recipes, go to

FOOD and Health & Wealth: Foods have special significance and it is advised to eat dishes with auspicious sounding names in Chinese.

The Box of Harmony
The box of candies traditionally offered at New Years is round or octagonal, the form resembling togetherness, and contains dazzling rows of fruit and candies to begin the New Year sweetly.
• Candies are given to friends and relatives during their visits.
• Each candied fruit is symbolic—though highly sugared, so eat in moderation!
• Let’s go over some of the symbolism: I have selected fruits that symbolize wealth and prosperity
o Pineapple of wealth
o Kumquat - gold, hence fortune, wealth
o Lotus seeds, crystallized - a full wallet, many (male) offspring
o Candied melon symbolizing good health and growth., having a large number of children
o Coconut: promoting togetherness and friendship
o Water chestnut) - unity

The Box of Health and Harmony: Can’t get away from being a registered dietitian and making healthy recommendations.
• Modernized and updated fruit offerings to also reflect healthy choices.
• These are representative of a food group to encourage: Fruit Food group
• Nutrient-rich. That is, they provide much more nutritional value in terms of vitamins, minerals and other healthful components, for the low amount of calories they contain.

o Tangerines are very popular as, among other things, they symbolize abundant happiness.
• Excellent source of fiber and vitamin C
o Walnuts- happiness of the entire family
• Source of omega-3-fatty acid for heart health
o Grapes and raisins - wealth, abundance, fertility, many descendants, family harmony
• Use dried fruit in winter at 25-30 cents per serving to help meet your recommended 4 servings of fruit/day economically
o Golden raisins
• With anti-oxidants beta-carotene and lycopene
o Mangos
• Golden- wealth
o Apple - wisdom, peace
• Excellent source of soluble fiber and a kid favorite
o Peach, pair of - wealth, abundance, long healthy life, great fortune for many generations
• Research on phytochemicals to reduce risk of cancer

New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are celebrated as a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving.
• Events that take place during this time sets the tone for the rest of the year.
• Take this opportunity to celebrate health, and happiness with your family, and focus on getting your four servings of fruit/day—even in the winter
• For more information, go to