Archive for the ‘Year of the rat’ Category

Vietnam cracks down on hamster craze

March 7, 2008

HANOI (AFP) – Vietnam has launched a crackdown on hamsters, a wildly popular pet here in the current lunar Year of the Rat, fearing an influx of the foreign-bred rodent furballs could spread disease and destroy crops.

From next Monday, anyone possessing or trading hamsters faces stiff fines of up to 30 million dong (1,875 dollars), the Vietnam News daily reported, citing a new agriculture ministry directive to enforce a ban imposed last month.

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China tries to shrug off cold and celebrate Year of the Rat

February 7, 2008
by Karl Malakunas

BEIJING (AFP) – China welcomed in the Year of the Rat Thursday with a bonanza of fireworks and festivals, but the celebrations for many were subdued due to ferocious cold weather that kept them from their families.

A family walk on steps printed with a portrait of a rat during ... 
A family walk on steps printed with a portrait of a rat during the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration in Beijing. China has welcomed in the Year of the Rat with a bonanza of fireworks and festivals, but the celebrations for many were subdued due to ferocious cold weather that kept them from their families.
(AFP/Teh Eng Koon )

Explosions of colour could be seen in the skies of Beijing and across China in a centuries-old fireworks tradition that is meant to scare off evil spirits but this year also sought to raise national morale after the horror cold snap.While the fireworks brought much delight, they also led to at least one fatality, dozens of injuries and a spate of fires in Beijing alone, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The start….

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Lunar New Year gets off to Olympic start in China

February 7, 2008

BEIJING (AFP) – Drum rolls and dragon dances set off Lunar New Year celebrations here Wednesday as revellers welcomed an Olympic-themed Year of the Rat.

Children dressed as the Olympic mascots, known as the five fuwa, ...
Children dressed as the Olympic mascots, known as the five fuwa, cheer during Spring Festival celebrations on the eve of the Lunar New Year in Beijing.
(AFP/Frederic J Brown) 
Millions will throng parks across the country to enjoy the food and fun during the holiday season and in Beijing, the host of the 2008 Olympics, there was an added dimension at Long Tan Park.The park’s temple fair was chosen by Olympic organisers to showcase the Games and bring the Olympics closer to the people.
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“Year of The Rat” Means Good Eating!

February 6, 2008

SUPHANBURI, THAILAND (AP) — As Chinese prepare for Year of the Rat celebrations, roadside entrepreneurs in Thailand are serving rodent meat, uncooked or ready to eat, and customers are snapping it up for 150 baht (US$4.82) a kilogram.
Nguyen Kim Hung cooks a rat at his home in Dinh Bang Village, ... 

These rats are the kind found in rice fields, not the filthy garbage-can-marauders familiar to city-dwellers.

“It’s tastier than other meats — nothing can compete with rat meat,” said Sala Prompim, a roadside seller of the delicacy who says the hip and liver are the best cuts.

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Taiwan smells a rat

Grill The Elephant! It’s Time for Tet!

I Have Eaten A Pack of Dogs and a Flock of Crow But “Hold the Penis”

The Tet New Year, Cuisine, China and Vietnam

How about a nice hot bowl of horse meat and noodle during the Super Bowl?

Taiwan smells a rat

February 5, 2008

(ITN) –Rat meat is enjoying a resurgence in popularity as Taiwan is celebrating the coming of the year of the rat in style.

One restaurant in Chiayi county, is offering rat meat dishes and such is the popularity, the diner goes through around 18 kilogrammes of rat meat a day.

Ho-la serves ten rat-themed dishes, including rat soup, black pepper-dipped and deep-fried rat.

But the ‘Three Cup Rat’ is a real favourite with customers and the recipe is a closely guarded secret.

Rat meat, also eaten in China, became popular in rural Taiwan 60 years ago among people who could not afford chicken or pork.

But the flavour caught on and with the year of the rat fast approaching, a rise in demand for the meat is expected.

For China, Students Educated In U.S. Might Never Return “Home”

February 5, 2008

By Maureen Fan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, February 5, 2008; Page A14

CAOTANG, China — This week in Caotang village, members of the Huang family were preparing for the Chinese New Year by making traditional dishes, scrubbing their already spotless homes and paying their respects to the family patriarch.
They were also discussing the fortunes of one of their most promising members, Huang He, a film and television student. In 2006, after 10 years of study in Northern Virginia and Michigan, Huang returned to China. Now, at the dawn of the Year of the Rat — a symbol of prosperity — he is contemplating heading back to the United States for work.

“I’m caught in between. My friends think I should set my feet firmly in the U.S. because I have already spent so much time there,” said Huang, who wonders who will look after his parents if he leaves. “I’m not really lost. I’m not panicked. I’m just looking for my next opportunity and my next home.”

Huang, 36, is a “sea turtle,” one of the thousands of students who return to China each year after spending time abroad. For many of them, a visit to their family villages during the Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, is near mandatory. But such visits also force them to confront changes in modern China — changes that may prompt them to swim away again.

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Lunar (Chinese) New Year Begins

February 4, 2008

Chinese New Year focuses on the remembrance of ancestors, family unity, hospitality, honor, happiness, good luck and wealth in the New Year.

The New Year begins on Thursday, February 7, 2008. 

Peach blossom, as seen here in Hanoi, is a popular decorative ...
Peach blossom, as seen here in Hanoi, is a popular decorative item during the Lunar New Year festival. Luxury villas, flatscreen TVs and mobile phones will all go up in smoke this Tet lunar New Year as newly affluent Vietnamese burn paper models of the latest mod-cons for their dead relatives(AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam)

This year, 2008 marks the “Year of the Rat” on the Chinese calendar, one of 12 animal names recycled every 12 years. Legend has it that those born in each animal year have some of that animal’s personality. Rats are said to be the most industrious, hard working and successful, and are often leaders, pioneers and conquerors. Famous people born in the Year of the Rat include George Washington, Shakespeare, Mozart and actors Samuel Jackson and Scarlett Johansson.

Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days until the Lantern Festival, which falls on February 21 this year. This year is also known as “Wu Zhi,” its formal name in the Stem-Branch system; 2008 is year nine in the 60-year naming cycle. The current year is Year 4705 by the Chinese calendar.

Practices for the new year vary depending upon which part of China you are from. Northern China celebrates the New Year with families making boiled dumplings together, symbolic of staying together, warm and full in the New Year. Southern China feasts on sticky rice rolled in balls, with a special stuffing  inside.

“Both in the North and in the South, the theme is the same even though the food may vary,” says Lisa Fan, photographer for the Asian Community Service Center in Vienna, Virginia.

“Harmony and union is what the meal means. One thing you must have at the meal is a whole fish, and some of the fish must be left on the plate to represent savings and prosperity for next year.”

Traditions include wearing new clothes and shoes, hanging red lanterns and banners with words of good fortune around doors — to bring good blessings and ward off evil — and cleaning the house thoroughly before festivities. No cleaning is permitted during festivities as that may sweep away good luck.

Another tradition is using the lotus flower as decoration.

“The lotus flower represents high moral standards. It grows in dirty mud but symbolizes purity and high moral standards,” says Tiny Tang, vice-president of the Asian Community Service Center. “This is a time to fully respect our parents and remember our ancestors. We follow good values which are meaningful for people. It is a reminder of our tradition.”

Tran thi Bay, right, makes banh chung, traditional Vietnamese ...
Tran thi Bay, right, makes banh chung, traditional Vietnamese food for New Year, in her house in Hanoi, Vietnam, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2008. Bay’s daughter Dinh Tran Bich Hop, left, and her grand children, back, help. Banh chung consists of three layers, sticky rice, green beans and pork, in a square shape wrapped in dong leaves. The Luna New Year of the Rat begins on Feb.7 (AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)

The Tet New Year, Cuisine, China and Vietnam

Grill The Elephant! It’s Time for Tet!

How about a nice hot bowl of horse meat and noodle during the Super Bowl?

An Epicure’s Guide to the Tet New Year: Close Your Eyes, Dig in and Don’t Ask!

I Have Eaten A Pack of Dogs and a Flock of Crow but “Hold the Penis”

Taiwan smells a rat

Year of the Rat also Year of the Stamps

January 8, 2008

In honor of the Chinese New Year, the U.S. Postal Service and the communist government of China will both unveil “Year of the Rat” stamps.


A worker makes a rat-shaped lantern at a workshop in Nanjing, ... 

A worker makes a rat-shaped lantern at a workshop in Nanjing, Jiangsu province January 6, 2008. China will usher in Chinese Lunar New Year, also known as “Year of the Rat “, on February 7, according to the lunar calendar.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will eventually put into circulation stamps representing all 12 animals of the Chinese calendar. The series will continue through 2019. The first 41-cent stamp in the series is for the Year of the Rat, which begins Feb. 7, 2008 and ends Jan. 25, 2009 and will be dedicated tomorrow in an 11 a.m. ceremony at the Nob Hill Masonic Center, 1111 California St., in San Francisco, California.

The rat is the first of 12 animals associated with the Chinese calendar. According to legend, the animals raced across a river to determine their order in the cycle. The rat crossed by riding on the back of the ox, jumping ahead at the last minute to win the race.

“The start of the Lunar New Year is the biggest holiday of the year for more than 25 percent of the people in the world,” said Katherine C. Tobin, member of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, who will dedicate the stamp.

The Asian New Year “Is a time of great celebration and reflection for many millions of Americans, including our nation’s oldest Chinese-American community here in San Francisco,” said Ms. Tobin.

China is also unveiling a “Year of the Rat” Stamp.China’s official Xinhua news agency said Sunday the stamps were unveiled recently in Guizhou Province, the region with the only county in which the rat stamps can be officially postmarked.

Each stamp is worth about 16 cents and features a rat adorned with colorful clothing.

The rat stamp set represents the most recent addition to the country’s third collection of zodiac stamps, Xinhua reported.The stamps, which celebrate the new year, also represent the first new stamp released by the China postal system in 2008.

A worker makes rat-shaped lanterns at a workshop in Nanjing, ...