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xtraWinexperience: The Chinese New Year

The xtraWinexperience resumes, and we start with the Chinese New Year. 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit! What is Chinese New Year? What is it all about?

The xtraWinexperience is back, but this year we will be travelling around Italy and the world to discover the link between wine and wine culture! And our first stop is China, and an event that we consider fascinating, engaging, and beautiful: the Chinese New Year!

As always, let’s explore this event, talking about curiosities and – above all – wine culture.

xtraWine curiosity Corner: what is Chinese New Year

Like the Christian Easter, Chinese New Year does not fall on a fixed date but coincides with the second new moon after the winter solstice, between 21 January and 19 February.

The celebrations last two weeks and involve millions of people worldwide, including, for example, Korea, Mongolia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and other Asian countries and beyond!

For instance, even in Italy, and especially in some of the largest cities where the Chinese community presence is more significant than in other towns, we celebrate Chinese New Year. Some examples? In Milan’s Chinatown, the Esquilino Neighbourhood in Rome, and Naples, Venice and Prato.

Unlike our New Year, which marks the transition to a new year, Chinese tradition assigns the various years an animal with a cyclical cadence of 12 years. Thus, a cyclical event: every 12 years, an animal is repeated. It is the animals that, according to legends, answered Buddha’s call.

2023 is the Year of the Rabbit, a symbol of tranquillity, grace, and ambition. More specifically, it is the year of the water rabbit, capable of understanding the human soul profoundly.

chinese new year - people walking on the street at night time
Photo by Balazs Simon

How is Chinese New Year celebrated?

The two-week-long celebrations involve the private sphere as well as public and social life.

The day before the celebration, families devote time to cleaning the house, which symbolically means removing the traces of the old year to welcome the new.

People dine with close relatives and give each other red envelopes containing money, firecrackers, new clothes, and various decorations used to decorate houses.

Then, the first day of the New Year follows, during which people visit relatives and friends, respecting a hierarchical order of seniority as a sign of respect.

During the other days, especially on the last day, various festivals and ceremonies take place, the most famous and oldest of which are the lion dance, the dragon dance and especially the lantern festival.

Furthermore, it is customary to stick red slips of paper on the streets, in shops and on house doors during the lantern festival. On each one is a riddle, and passers-by can have fun solving it. What a treat! A superb Chinese New Year!

It is also interesting that red and gold are the predominant colours in these two weeks of festivities. Red is a symbol of good fortune, whereas gold is of abundance. Here, we can find these two colours in the decorations posted throughout the cities, on the doors of houses, and in the clothes, one wears the day before the celebration. They are also the colours found in the dishes and on the table. 

How to celebrate Chinese New Year with xtraWine

For our xtraWiners, we have come up with the perfect wine to understand, celebrate and appreciate the Chinese New Year. 

We propose an excellent red wine: Marziano Abbona Langhe Rosso I Due Ricu 2019

We have chosen it for two reasons:

  1. The adorable label recalls the Year of the Rabbit
  2. The persistence of red wine pairs very well with spicy cuisine such as Chinese.

Marziano Abbona bottle of wine.

It is an award-winning red wine from Piedmont produced by the Marziano Abbona winery. This wine represents the successful combination of the two classic grape varieties of the area, Nebbiolo and Barbera, with a small portion of Pinot Noir. Its intense colour, however, can be traced back to the Barbera grape. The grape production areas are between the towns of Dogliani and Monforte d’Alba.

Finally, it is a generous and full-bodied wine with intense flavours of cherry and raspberry with touches of vanilla and spice. It is earthy and spicy on the palate, with a refreshing finish and loads of acidity. To celebrate the Year of Rabbit, try it with herb and spice meat dishes.

Happy celebrating xtraWiners!

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