Homemaking for the Year of the Rabbit

16 January 2023

Lunar New Year is approaching, and in this post, I share my homemaking preparations for the Year of the Rabbit.

Out With the Old, In With the New

During Lunar New Year it is traditional to wear new clothes. By adorning ourselves in new garments, we give ourselves a tangible reminder to step into the new year with a fresh heart.

In my home, we practice a modification of this tradition. We do not buy new clothes for Lunar New Year. Instead we buy new household linens.

Bedclothes, curtains, and towels of all kinds: these are just a few examples of the garments worn by our homes. Although we see them every day, these household linens have a knack of blending into the background and escaping our notice. Lunar New Year serves as a reminder to inspect our household linens and ensure that they are in working order.

Baking Almond Tuiles

Sweet snacks are eaten during Lunar New Year to usher in a year full of sweetness. Many of these snacks carry an additional layer of symbolism. Peanut cookies, for example, symbolise a long and healthy life, while pineapple tarts symbolise a year full of luck and fortune.

This year I baked almond tuiles. These crisp golden biscuits are a popular festive snack in Singapore and Malaysia. Almond trees bloom in spring, and with Lunar New Year being a celebration of spring, almond tuiles are a perfect new year snack.

Almond tuiles look elegant, but they are easy to make. If you like almonds, I encourage you to try baking almond tuiles. Here is my easy recipe for almond tuiles.

Preparing a New Year Banquet

In the lead-up to Lunar New Year I spend extra time in the kitchen. I prepare an assortment of dishes, each with their own symbolic significance.

I spend afternoons wrapping spring rolls and dumplings, shaping them to resemble gold bars and ingots to represent abundance in the new year.

For the first day of Lunar New Year I prepare a vegetarian stew, made with a hearty medley of vegetables that represent a clean start to the new year.

I also prepare two steamed dishes: steamed fish and steamed chicken. The Chinese word for fish is a homonym for surplus, so eating fish during Lunar New Year represents a year of plenty. Meanwhile, like the phoenix, chicken represents rebirth, making it an ideal dish to serve at the beginning of a new year.

Making New Year Lanterns

In between the festive cooking and cleaning, I carve out quiet moments to work on new year crafts. One of my favourite new year crafts is origami using leftover red packets. These festive envelopes come in beautiful designs, making them perfect for crafting.

This year I’m making a set of red and gold origami lanterns. They will live in the entryway, where they can bless everyone who enters the home with a year full of vitality, luck, and happiness.

Honouring the Year of the Rabbit

2023 is the Year of the Rabbit, and if we want to improve our homemaking skills this year, it is natural to look to the rabbit for inspiration.

Rabbits are gregarious creatures; they thrive when they have companionship. One practical way to honour the Year of the Rabbit, therefore, is to prioritise family time this year.

As homemakers, we should be fleet-footed like the rabbit; we must combat procrastination and take timely action. But we should avoid hurrying, lest we morph into the flustered White Rabbit from Alice’s Wonderland: “Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting!” Even when we are busy, we should perform our homemaking in an atmosphere of peace.

According to a Chinese proverb, “a crafty rabbit has three burrows.” As homemakers, we can pay heed to this proverb by planning ahead and diversifying our homemaking skills.

The Year of the Rabbit is upon us; let’s work in our homes to make 2023 a pleasant, productive, and peaceful year of homemaking.