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What you need to know about Chinese New Year


Even though 2017 started over a month ago, we’re not ready to stop celebrating the New Year. That’s right, Chinese New Year is now on the horizon and that means loads of celebrations and delicious food!

If you’re not familiar with this holiday, we’ve got your back. Chinese New Year at Oriental Teahouse is all about sharing Chinese food and culture with your closest family and friends. Here are the basics you need to know:

The Chinese Zodiac

Each year is themed by a different animal so when we celebrate the New Year, we welcome one of the twelve zodiacs to protect and look over us. 2016 was the year of the Monkey and on the 28th of January 2017, we’ll transition into the year of the Rooster.

According to ancient Chinese superstition, in your birth sign year, you will offend the God of Age, and have back luck that year. The best way to avoid this is to wear something red year round, such as socks, scarf, underwear, wristband, etc.

Your Animal Sign

Your Chinese Zodiac sign is determined by your birth year, according to the Chinese lunar calendar. Determine your animal sign by finding your birth year below.

  • Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960
  • Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961
  • Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962
  • Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963
  • Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964
  • Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965
  • Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966
  • Goat: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967
  • Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968
  • Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969
  • Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970
  • Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971

Red envelopes

As a child, one of the most exciting parts of celebrating the New Year was receiving the red envelopes given by extended family. Why? Because they’re full of cash! They’re a wish for health and wealth ­– and traditionally it’s the red paper itself that carries the good luck.

Chinese New Year foods

At Oriental Teahouse we get super excited about the infamous New Year dinner. It’s a significant part of the celebration, uniting family members over a gigantic, delicious Chinese meal. That means seeing distant aunts and uncles and all 537 of your cousins. It’s a great time with heaps of food, laughs and great company.  Some of the must-have foods are:


Dumplings are super popular in Northern China and especially during the New Year as they represent prosperity. They’re typically made the day before and eaten at midnight. Apparently, the more dumplings you can fit into your gob during the celebration, the more money you can expect to make in the New Year. We dare you to give it a go!


Families often buy a whole fish and prepare it with some ginger and soy sauce. This dish is accompanied with the phrase “nian nian you yu” which means, “may the year bring prosperity.” It’s customary to save leftovers, not just for your lunch the next day, but also to symbolise prosperity overflowing into the New Year.

New Year cake

If you’re into cool textures, this stuff is for you. Also known as Nian Gao, New Year cake is made with glutinous rice flour and sugar. It is considered good luck to eat nian gao during Chinese New Year because nian gao is a homonym for “higher year.” It’s a popular gift to bring to a New Year party and can be moulded into different shapes for decoration. Pretty and tasty? Don’t mind if we do!

Now that you’re more familiar with some traditional Chinese New Year foods, why not come down to one of our venues and try some of them for yourself? Celebrate Chinese New Year at Oriental Teahouse and have yourself banquet with some loved ones!

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