This coming week sees Chinese communities officially celebrating their ‘New Year’, and, let’s face it, it’ll be a great excuse for all those of us who love a Chinese foodie feast, to reach for the takeaway menu.

Here’s some things you really need to know about Chinese New Year, about 2019 and the Year of the Pig, about how to cook authentic Chinese, and why certain activities form part of the cultural celebrations.

HOORAY FOR THE PIG

This year is labelled Year of the Pig and starts on February 5th.

You’re a ‘pig’ (in the kindest way possible) if you were born in 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995 or 2007.

Analysts say this is a great year ahead, with plenty of optimism and excitement after several less positive years in the Chinese zodiac.

Interestingly, after us all talking about keeping our purse strings tight during the Brexit build-up, the Pig is associated with wealth and generosity.

Fingers crossed then!

A RED ENVELOPE FOR THOSE YOU LOVE

Might you choose to introduce a little Chinese New Year tradition for your family this year?

How about this one…

Red envelopes of money are traditionally given to children as part of the celebrations.

The custom is called Hong Bao and also extends to married couples giving ‘lucky money’ to unmarried adults.

So then, if you’re an unmarried woman surrounded by loved-up wedded couples, now is the time to drop a hint!

FEAST AND FIREWORKS

Sure, you could just ring up the nearest takeaway to mark the occasion, but why not go all-out and throw your own gathering.

If you’re inclined to do so, then fireworks has to be on your entertainment (it’s strongly associated with Chinese New Year), and obviously, so does Chinese cuisine….made by you.

Want to know what you should be cooking for your guests?

Most people mark this event with such dishes as dumplings, spring rolls, fish and rice jelly cakes (yes, really). Noodles and sweet rice balls are also the choice of most families.

LADY IN RED

And finally, if you’re thinking you want to dress up to see in the Chinese New Year, whether you’re inviting guests over or not, there’s only one colour to consider.

RED is the shade of choice.

Apparently, it wards off evil spirits and brings good fortune your way.

What are you waiting for – just another excuse to go shell out on a glamorous outfit in a bold hue.

Happy Chinese New Year