Can You Hear the Galloping Hooves?

Can you hear the galloping hooves? Watch out Helen of Troy, The Wood Horse is coming!

Nah, not the Trojan but the Chinese, myself included, is welcoming the Year of the Horse (马年) in Chinese Zodiac on Friday, 31st January 2014 on the Gregorian calendar. Spring Festival is coming to town!

The character of the horse is perceived to be the Chinese people’s ideal attitude in life; making unflagging efforts to improve themselves. The Horse is discerning, indefatigable, good natured and resourceful. Thus in the old days, Chinese often dub an able person as 千里马 (Qian Li Ma) which is the equivalent to a horse that covers a thousand li a day (one li equals 500 meters).

The festive mood of Christmas and New Year are still lingering in the air but we are already preparing for yet another celebration, the biggest and most important event to Chinese all over the world! Spring cleaning of homes are already well under way for most families, throwing out the old stuff, buying new clothes, decorative plants and placing orders for auspicious foods like 盆菜 (Pen Cai or Poon Choi which literally means basin vegetables – a dish traditionally served to the emperor during the Song ‘宋’ Dynasty), suckling pigs, Foo Chow fish balls and Punggol meat balls for their Steamboat Reunion Dinner, and not forgetting the must-have CNY cookies…

Yesterday, I went to my friend’s house after a food tasting session (I’ll blog about it soon) and therefore missed the baking process but I was in time to eat some fresh out of the oven pineapple tarts she baked. I also got to bring home some 😀

鳳梨酥/黄梨酥  - Pineapple Tarts.

鳳梨酥/黄梨酥 – Pineapple Tarts.

鳳 (Feng) = Phoenix<br />梨 (Li) = Pear<br />酥 (Su) = biscuits/cookies/flaky pastry.

鳳 (Feng) = Phoenix
梨 (Li) = Pear
酥 (Su) = biscuits/cookies/flaky pastry.

黄 (Huang) = Yellow/Gold 梨 (Li) = Pear   酥 (Su) = biscuits/cookies/flaky pastry.

黄 (Huang) = Yellow/Gold
梨 (Li) = Pear
酥 (Su) = biscuits/cookies/flaky pastry.

Whether you call the Pineapple as Huang Li (in Mandarin), Wong Lei (in Cantonese) or Ong Lai (in Hokkien)...

Whether you call the Pineapple as Huang Li (in Mandarin), Wong Lei (in Cantonese) or Ong Lai (in Hokkien)…

They all mean one thing - Prosperity!

They all mean one thing – Prosperity!

Therefore, eating the auspicious buttery golden tarts is a symbol of prosperity.

Therefore, eating the auspicious buttery golden tarts is a symbol of prosperity.

Click on gallery below to see picture in full view and for some commentary:

春 - Spring. The symbol (and word) of Spring Festival the proper name for Chinese Lunar New Year. 新年快乐 (Xīn Nián Kuài Lè) - Happy New Year!

春 – Spring.
The symbol (and word) of Spring Festival the proper name for Chinese Lunar New Year.
新年快乐 (Xīn Nián Kuài Lè) – Happy New Year!

吉 means Lucky, Propitious or Good.<br />吉祥如意 (Jí Xiáng Rú Yì) - May Luck comes and things go with your plans.

吉 means Lucky, Propitious or Good.
吉祥如意 (Jí Xiáng Rú Yì) – May Luck comes and things go with your plans.

新年快乐 (Xīn Nián Kuài Lè) – Happy New Year!

吉祥如意 (Jí Xiáng Rú Yì) – May Luck comes and things go with your plans.

财源广进 (Cái Yuán Guǎng Jìn) – Lots of Fortune to come!

While the above phrases are common greetings on everyone’s lips when visiting friends and relatives before, during and subsequent weeks after Chinese New Year (CNY is celebrated 15 days). The two below are more symbols and are usually framed or pasted on the walls (or anything that can be pasted, the more the merrier, i.e. on wardrobe doors, vases, and even food like oranges, etc… etc…) for their auspicious references.

福 - Fortune and Happiness. 福到了 (Fú Dào Le) - Come Fortune and Happiness! The word ‘Fú’ (fortune/ happiness) is often hung upside down as decoration on walls because ‘upside down’ and ‘come’ (or arriving) are both pronounced as ‘Dào’ in mandarin. Therefore, this is more of an auspicious symbol than a greeting. May this auspicious symbol will bring you lots of Fortune and Happiness this new year! Photo credit: Google Images

福 – Fortune and Happiness.
福到了 (Fú Dào Le) – Come Fortune and Happiness!
The word ‘Fú’ (fortune/ happiness) is often hung upside down as decoration on walls because ‘upside down’ and ‘come’ (or arriving) are both pronounced as ‘Dào’ in mandarin. Therefore, this is more of an auspicious symbol than a greeting. May this auspicious symbol will bring you lots of Fortune and Happiness this new year!
Photo credit: Google Images

招財進寶 (Zhāo Cái Jìn Bǎo) – means ushering in Wealth and Prosperity.
招 – beckon, summon; recruit, levy.
財 – wealth, valuables, riches.
進 – advance, make progress, enter.
寶 – treasure, jewel; precious, rare.

招財進寶 (Zhāo Cái Jìn Bǎo) - means ushering in Wealth and Prosperity.<br />The combination of the 4 characters of zhāo cái jìn bǎo into one word, as shown here, is not a real Chinese character (and thus I cannot write it here because it is not found in the dictionary or on any keyboard).<br />It is often written in calligraphy and pasted as auspicious home decorations and in this case, the cover of the pineapple tarts my dear friend gave me :D

招財進寶 (Zhāo Cái Jìn Bǎo) – means ushering in Wealth and Prosperity.
The combination of the 4 characters of zhāo cái jìn bǎo into one word, as shown here, is not a real Chinese character (and thus I cannot write it here because it is not found in the dictionary or on any keyboard).
It is often written in calligraphy and pasted as auspicious home decorations and in this case, the cover of the pineapple tarts my dear friend gave me 😀

Thank you, Jacqueline and family!

Happy eating 🙂

恭喜发财, 万事如意!

Photo credit of 福 (Fu): Google Images.

Information credit: Online resources.

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