Chinese New Year is February 19th this year - and it's the Year of the Sheep (or depending on what you look at Year of the Goat or Ram or apparently it can be any horned mountain animal!)
Although I'm half Chinese, we really never celebrated Chinese New Year. My mom's family came over to the US way back when China went communist and has never really looked back since. I think it was just a little to painful to celebrate anything that reminded my grandparents of home.
But as my kids are getting older, we have been trying to get them familiar with a lot of cultures and religions. They are 25% Chinese although you'd probably never guess it by looking at them. They are also 25% Italian and 50% a mix of European Ukranian and some German - they are real little melting pots.
To celebrate the arrival of both Chinese New Year and these bad boys aka Red Velvet Oreos, I made some Year of the Sheep/Goat/Ram decorated Oreos.
The "head" detail is made with black melting candy wafers and some yellow candy coated sunflower seeds. And you get some very simple ram or goat shapes - although if you look at them like my hubby did, you may ask "Why did you make demon cookie?" Thanks husband.
Do you know the story behind Chinese New Year?
According to Wikipedia, the myth is that Chinese New Year started with Nian, a mythical beast (think the Chinese New Year parade lion/dragon beast) that would come on the 1st day of New Year to eat all the villager's food and kids (yikes!). To ward Nian off, the people put food in front of their doors at the beginning of the new year thinking that if Nian ate the food, he wouldn't attach any more people. One villager had enough of Nian's shenanigans. A god visited him and told him to put red paper in his house and to place firecrackers all around. Turns out Nian was afraid of the color red so the villagers started hanging red lanterns and red spring scrolls on their windows and doors and used firecrackers to scare him away. From then on Nian never came back to the village again.
Sounds pretty plausible to me, and why not celebrate every year with a parade and firecrackers?
Happy Chinese New Year to you! We are going to hunker down and keep warm from the brutal cold front in the Northeast. These little red velvet Oreos should help!