Happy Chinese New Year!
Chinese New Year sees millions of people go home to celebrate the cycle of life with their families. It also provides the excuse for a lot of serious eating and drinking – tea being a soft but reassuring part of the show.
When the Chinese lunar calendar turns in another cycle, between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, then its time for a massive celebration in China. in fact, anywhere where Chinese people live or have influenced culture will see some kind of festival: red pennants and other decorations, firecrackers, performances, and feasts. A lot of New Years' meals will focus on regional dishes such as dumplings in the North, quality seafood along the coasts, plenty of tofu and pork, etc. The big shared dinners will often be accompanied by alcohol, especially Baijiu (Sorghum or Rice whiskey) and Huangjiu (Rice wine).
Don't forget one essential Chinese element for almost any important day: not far behind, especially as a means of balancing all that strong liquor, you will find tea.
In fact, one ritual for the holiday that is still practiced in some households uses tea as a way of showing respect to one's elders. In this ritual, the younger and older members of the extended family gather together in the main part of the house and the former offer cups of tea to the latter. This gift is followed up by the passing of much-anticipated Hong Bao (Red envelopes containing money) to the younger folk. When tea is enjoyed at this auspicious time of year it is typical to accompany it with fresh or candied fruits – small oranges, winter melon, lotus seeds, jujubes or lotus root. These sweet side pairings match well with the typically dark Puer or Oolong tea that is served during these gatherings.
If you are celebrating Chinese New Year, pick up a Tea Plays Bonbon to suit the moment: all that heavy eating might leave you needing some help digesting, so why not try an After Lunch Bonbon? Or a Sweet Home tea as you enjoy quality time with your family?
Tea Plays is proud to be a mascot of Chinese traditions of family and togetherness – so 新年快乐– Xīn nián kuài lè ! – to everyone!