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Find a Chinese New Year celebration near you

• Chinese New Year Memorial Lantern Lighting
Where: A&E Coffee Roastery & Tea, 135 Route 101A, Amherst
When: Thursday, Feb. 19, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Cost is $5 per lantern, $3 per luminary. See facebook.com/AEroastery
Enjoy a lantern lighting and Chinese tea sampling.
 
 
• Chinese New Year Celebration: ‘Year of the Sheep’
Where: White Heron Tea & Coffee Co., 601 Islington St., Portsmouth
When: Thursday, Feb. 19, from 4 to 8 p.m.
Admission is free. See facebook.com/whiteherontea
Enjoy an evening of lanterns and dragons, food, music, fine arts and crafts. Asian brush painter Bruce Iverson and Jonathan Blakeslee of White Heron Tea will host.
• Chinese New Year Miaohui
When: Thursday, Feb. 26, from 4 to 8 p.m.
Where: Granite State Room, Memorial Union Building at UNH, 83 Main St., Durham
Admission is free. Register at cola.unh.edu/confucius/event/chinese-new-year-miaohui-or-temple-fair.
Enjoy a traditional Miaohui, or “Temple fair,” with activities such as making steamed bread and rice cakes, a Chinese tea ceremony demonstration, calligraphy class and more.
 
Dumpling recipes to try at home
Courtesy of Jia Xie
 
Beef dumpling with celery
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
2 teaspoons water
1/2 teaspoon starch
1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of white pepper
3 tablespoons finely chopped celery
24 to 30 round dumpling wrappers (preferably with egg)
 
Combine all ingredients (except water, starch, chopped celery and wrappers) in a large bowl, then add water and starch into the bowl then stir well. Afterwards, stir in celery. Set bowl in a larger bowl of ice to keep chilled while forming dumplings.
 
 
Pork dumpling with chives
1/2 pound fatty ground pork
1/2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 egg
2 teaspoons water
1/ 2 teaspoon starch
1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of white pepper
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro stems (optional)
3 tablespoons finely chopped flowering chives, flat Chinese chives (garlic chives), or scallions
24 to 30 round dumpling wrappers (preferably with egg)
 
Combine all ingredients (except egg, water, starch, cilantro stems, chives and wrappers) in large bowl, then add egg and stir in one direction. After mixing well, add water and starch and stir well. Afterward, stir in chives and cilantro stems. Set bowl in a larger bowl of ice to keep chilled while forming dumplings




Year of the Sheep
How to celebrate Chinese New Year

02/19/15
By Allie Ginwala aginwala@hippopress.com



Chinese New Year is all about renewal, family and food — and lots of it, says Jia Xie, a lecturer at UNH Manchester who is originally from Chengdu, China. 

This year’s Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, falls on Thursday, Feb. 19. 
“For us, [this] is the most important festival,” said Xie, who teaches elementary and intermediate level Chinese language. “Everything will be renewed after that day.” 
This festival is traditionally one of the only times each year extended family gets together, and, Xie said, food is a big part of the celebration. Families prepare plenty of food to start the new year prosperously. 
“We prepare extra food because that means we don’t want to be hungry or starved in the next year,” she said.
The item most associated with Spring Festival is dumplings, usually made with pork or beef. One special type is yuanxiao, a round, stuffed, sticky rice dumpling. Fish, too, is a staple for Chinese New Year dinner. Xie explained that in Chinese, the word for “fish” sounds similar to the word for “more.” 
“We have to prepare a dish with fish,” she said. “That means next year I will have more; more luck, more money, more happiness and anything more.”
Once the table is set, dinner usually starts at 8 p.m. and many families try to keep eating until after the new year begins at midnight. The idea behind the prolonged meal is that since the meal started in one year and finished in the next, there will be plenty of food in the new year. 
“But no one can actually do it,” Xie said. 
Most sit down to eat, stop for a while and then come back. To help New Hampshirites get in the spirit of Spring Festival, Xie offered ways to help bring the festival to your home. The first thing to be done is a full-scale cleaning of the house. 
“Because it’s a new year, everything needs to be cleaned,” Xie said. “We do the major clean [for] the whole year at this moment before Chinese New Year.” 
Once you’ve washed, dusted and vacuumed, try cutting colorful paper shapes to place on the windows. 
“You will have the atmosphere immediately,” she said.
Make sure to invite your friends or family over for a meal, as the festival centers on gathering together. If you want to make it more interactive, see if your guests want to come and help make dumplings. 
Once you have the food ready, try eating at a round table. Xie said for Chinese New Year a round table is ideal for two reasons: you can squish more family members at a table with no corners, and the word for “round,” yuan, also means “reunion.” 
Encourage your guests to wear the color red, which plays a large role in Chinese New Year. According to tradition, there was a horrible beast called the nian (also the Chinese word for “year”) that used to eat people. In order to scare the nian away, people would light firecrackers and wear the color red. As a way to help protect children from the nian, parents would put money inside a red envelope and place it under their pillows. Families continue that tradition today, with parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles giving red envelopes to the children on the day of Chinese New Year. 
“It doesn’t matter how much money [is] inside,” Xie said. “It [represents] a best wish to the kids, [such as] ‘I want you to grow up better … behave yourself.’” 
 
As seen in the February 19, 2015 issue of the Hippo.
 





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