Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Spotted Tuesday: The Year of the Horse

Chinese New Year may be is the most important holiday for the Chinese. In 2014, Chinese New Year which is also known as Lunar New Year falls on January 31st.  The preparation of this celebration is done weeks prior.

Many Chinese has a hair cut a few days or a week before the New Year. It is said that washing or cutting your hair on a New Year day brings bad luck. I found this out from my hairdresser who said that the salon tends to be extra busy during the Chinese New Year. It seems that a superstition actually brings good business for hair salons. 

One of special foods that is only available during the New Year celebration is Niangao, a Chinese New Year cake. It is made of glutinous rice flour, wheat starch, salt, water and sugar. There are 2 ways of cooking these that I know of. My side of family loves to have these fried after dipped into a mixture of beaten eggs. My husband family loves to have these steamed and then cover them with  coconut sprinkles (steamed them first). Either way, they are delicious!



As part of the tradition, a big family dinner is held on the New Year's Eve, usually in or near the home of senior member of the family. This year, we went to our favorite restaurant, Din Tai Fung. I took a snap of the last dish (see below). As Chinese restaurants tend to get busy for this special occasion, a reservation made weeks prior is highly recommended.

Red packets or red envelopes which typically contain money are distributed during the New Years celebration. It is a customary practice for married couple to hand out these good luck packets to the younger non-married children of the family. Children wish elders a happy new year before accepting the red envelope. As an employer, we also give red packets to our employees.

According to Chinese zodiac, 2014 is the Year of the Horse, specifically wood horse.

One of the interpretation of the Year of the Horse I found on the internet
People born in the Year of the Horse are clever, kind, animated and energetic. Although they sometimes talk too much, they are cheerful, perceptive, talented and love to be in the centre of a crowd. They are popular among friends, active at work and have a deft sense of humour.
2014 is the year of the Wooden Horse. Wood Horses are strong and stable and have a better ability to make decisions. Excellent at interacting with others, they are successful personally and professionally.

Believe it or not? I let you to decide :-)

Here is a picture of Horse Buns served at Din Tai Fung. Aren't they adorable? Too cute to be eaten but I had no choice. These buns were filled with Taro and Red Beans. Yummy!

Inspired by the Year of Horse, here are handmade goodies found at Artfire and Storenvy. 

2014: The Year Of The Unicorn by Look Human


Pony Anatomy Tote! from The Plaid Pony

Horse Kentucky Derby Cupcake Toppers by Adorebynat

Feel free to share this using your social media. Thank you for stopping by!


  1. I hope you got lots of Red Envelopes! LOL

    Pretty horse items. I love those cloths!!!


    1. I didn't get any, Jacki. My son did though. I was more the giver. :-)

  2. Thank you, Nat, for a very interesting post and for including my jade prosperity amulet with the 3 rams. Shared.

  3. You enlightened me to some facts about Chinese New Year that I never knew. Thanks for that and also for the wonderful horse related items.

  4. What an interesting post! I enjoyed reading about Chinese New Year and some of the special treats that are eaten. You tied in the horse themed items so well with a great variety of handmade finds, including the unicorn tank top.

  5. I remember heading out to our favorite Chinese restaurant and getting the red envelopes at the end of dinner. Thank you for including my winter table topper with the horse drawn sleigh.

  6. Fascinating post, Nat! I have a special affinity for horses - and was actually born in the Year of the Horse (but won't let on which year! - LOL). When we lived near Toronto, we would go into their huge China Town as often as possible, especially during the Chines New Year. Such fun and such delicious foods. Taro and red bean buns were a favorite, although I never saw any as cute as the horse ones above. A wonderful surprise to see my horse heart pendant necklace in your post - thank you! Will share the post far and wide later today. Thanks again!

  7. Thank you for sharing Chinese New Year with us, I would love to try Niangao! The horse buns are so adorable and sound delicious. You chose such lovely items to represent the Year of the Horse. =)

  8. Thank you for posting this. I didn't know how the Chinese New Year was celebrated.

  9. Thanks for a fond stroll down memory lane! I had no idea you were Chinese. We moved to China during the last year of the horse. I still have a stack of the red envelopes lol!

    1. I'm Chinese descendant, born in Indonesia and and spend half of my life in Canada :-) I guess, that would make me a multicultural woman :-)