Happy Chinese New Year from Five Seasons Healing

Five Seasons Healing Newsletter

Chinese New Year Greeting

Needles pic

In This Issue…
Happy Chinese New Year
Year of the Snake
New Year’s Dumplings
Mark your Calendar
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Sharon Yeung, MS, L.Ac., Doula

Five Seasons Healing 
Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs 
80 E.11th St., Suite 211
    New York, NY 10003 

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Happy Chinese New Year! 



In celebration of the Year of the Snake, we will be serving Eight Treasure Tea, or Ba Bao Cha, in the Five Seasons office and giving away packets for you to bring home.  Eight Treasure tea refers to a special blend of  goji berries, red dates, dragoneye fruit, chrysanthemum flowers, green tea, citrus peel, licorice root, and rock sugar crystals.

Ba Bao Cha evokes for me, lovely distant memories of my travels in China.  I remember warming up to steaming cups in village cafes nestled in the mountains of Yunnan province.  I can just see the goji berries, red dates and chrysanthemum flowers floating in my teacup and taste the sweet, pungent flavors.  

This new year, be sure to stop by, warm up, and share a cup!


Year of the Snake
I am a big fan of Hong Kong feng shui master, Raymond Lo.   The following are some of his predictions and recommendations for the new year.  Check out more of his Year of the Snake article  here.  
The 2013 year of the snake is symbolically represented by two elements: water atop fire.  This translates to a year that can either be somewhat chaotic with clashes and conflict (fire) or a year that can bring intelligent and innovative ideas and reform (water).   Although previous snake years have had their fair share of troubles, Lo asserts that this year’s snake is the “morning dew” type of common water snake, less venomous than recent predecessors.
In Chinese metaphysics, the Snake is a “travelling star,” making this year a busy moving and travelling year for many people, especially via land and sea.  Lo warns, however, that travel towards the Southeast in inadvisable. 
Kitagawa Utamaro
 Image © Metropolitan Museum of Art
The water snake also symbolizes optimism and enthusiasm for new innovations and progress and Lo sees good opportunities in economic growth.  Industries that will perform well this year will be industries related to the Metal element (banking, machinery, engineering, computer, high tech industries) and Earth element (property, mining, insurance).  

According to Lo, children born in 2013 will be born possessing  a lifelong protective energy.

In terms of health, fire correlates with the heart and blood circulation while water relates to the heart, blood and eyes.  For those with any concerns in these areas, it is particularly important to be include Omega-3 oils (found in flax seeds and flax oil, beans and fatty fish like salmon), vitamins C (citrus fruits, broccoli) and E (spinach, almonds) in your diets while also reducing the intake of cholesterol (animal fats) to prevent artery blockage.  Interestingly, water sitting on hot fire also creates favorable circumstances for epidemic spreading of viruses and bacteria and, lo and behold, we have experienced an early and vicious flu season this year!

Feng Shui energies are also influenced by the new energy of this year.  In the year of the Snake, the negative energy known as “Five Yellow,” symbolizing obstacles and misfortune, arrives at the center of your home or office.  It is recommended that you hang a metal wind chime in the center of the house to dissolve this bad energy, particularly in the months of February, August, and November.   

Other influences to be aware of this year present in the east and west of the home or office place.  To avoid conflicts and scandal, it would be beneficial to place a piece of red paper in east of your home and three pieces of bamboo grown in a clear glass vase in the west.  Additionally, to ward off any possible health woes, it is advised that you hang a string of six metal coins in the south-west of the house.

While this new year will bring about many new energies and influences in all of our lives, some of us may have different experiences based on the years in which we were originally born, and how those energies interact with the Snake.  For example, romance will bloom this year for the Horses out there and it will also be a positive, harmonious year for the Monkeys , Roosters and Oxen.  Meanwhile, the Pigs and Snakes will have to be a little more cautious as it is recommended they both carry a monkey pendant to attract the snake away, quelling a possible clash believed to be created between their birth signs and the influences of this year.

New Year Dumplings

 Photo: Andrew Crowley

These delicious round dumplings signify family reunion.  In northern China, families traditionally spend New Year’s Eve together preparing the dumplings, which are eaten at midnight.  One lucky person may find a gold coin inside!  Crescent-shaped dumplings, or Jiaozi,  are a symbol of wealth and prosperity because of their resemblance to ancient Chinese money.


Here is a recipe from one of my FAVORITE chefs and food writers: Fuschia Dunlop, published in The Telegraph on Feb. 4th, 2013.



300g plain flour (if you are making your own dough cases)

100g minced pork

½ small egg, beaten

1 tsp Shaoxing wine (available from Waitrose) or dry sherry

1 tbsp chicken stock

½ tsp sesame oil

100g Chinese chives, wild garlic, or another vegetable of your choice. Watery types such as cabbage should be salted and rested for 10 minutes. Then brush off salt and squeeze dry

Chinkiang or Shanxi vinegar, or light balsamic vinegar

Light or tamari soy sauce

Chilli oil or chilli paste


Makes approx 18 dumplings



You can buy ready-made dough cases, or “dumpling wrappers”, from any Chinese supermarket. Before use, refresh them with water.


To make your own, place 300g plain flour on a work surface, add 180ml cold water and make a stiff but pliable dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, then cover with a damp towel and rest for 30 minutes.


On a lightly floured board, roll the dough into a couple of sausages 2-2.5cm in diameter.


Cut the dough into 2cm pieces, turning it between cuts (to stop it from getting flatter).

Stand each piece on the board and flatten with your palm, giving convex discs. Roll them into flat circles about 7cm in diameter. The best way to do this is to cradle the far edge of a disc in your fingers while you roll from the near edge into the centre using a Chinese rolling pin or a stick of dowling, turning the disc between rolls. You will end up with a slightly curved disc that is thinner at the edges than in the centre.


Now make the filling. Crush the ginger and place in a cup, just covering with cold water. Leave to soak for a few minutes.


Put the pork in a bowl and add the egg, wine, stock, sesame oil and salt to taste, with 1 tbsp of the water in which you have soaked the ginger. Mix well.


Finely chop the chives or wild garlic and add them to the pork. Again mix well (fingers are best).


Set a large pan of water to boil. Fill a small dish with cold water and have it to hand. Lay a dough circle in your hand and place about 1 tbsp of the pork mixture in its centre, pressing the mixture into the dough. Dip your finger in the water and run it around the edge of the circle. Then seal the dough with a few little pleats. Lay the dumpling on a tray or a large plate.


Drop some of the dumplings into the boiling water and cook them for four to five minutes.


Don’t allow the water to boil aggressively or the dumplings may fall apart. They will be ready when the dough is shiny and translucent, and they float. Cut one in half and check the meet is not pink and raw.


Serve with three dips: light soy sauce, Chinese or balsamic vinegar, and chilli oil.


Mark Your Calendar:  

Local events celebrating Chinese New Year



For those of you interested in really partaking in the Chinese new year spirit, here are a list of some Chinese New Year events going on throughout NYC. 


14th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival

The parade usually winds throughout Chinatown down Mott, along East Broadway, up Eldridge Street to Forsyth.

Time: Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 1 p.m.

Begins: Mott/Hester Streets

The spectacle features elaborate floats, marching bands, lion and dragon dances galore, Asian musicians, magicians, acrobats and procession by local organizations. Over 5,000 people are expected to march in the parade, which will start at Mott Street and promenade through practically every street in of Chinatown, finally dispersing at Broome/Forsyth. The parade is expected to conclude at 3 pm, at which time an outdoor cultural festival will take place in Sara D. Roosevelt Park featuring more performances by musicians, dancers and martial artists.


Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival

Location: from 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. in Roosevelt Park (between Grand & Hester Streets) 

Date: Sunday, February 10, 2013

The firecracker detonation, with expected attendance by local politicians and community leaders, is intended to ward off evil spirits. A large stage will feature all-day cultural performances by traditional and contemporary Asian-American singers and dancers. Plus, a dozen lion, dragon and unicorn dance troupes will march through Chinatown’s main streets, including Mott Street, the Bowery, East Broadway, Bayard Street, Elizabeth Street and Pell Street.


Preparing for the New Year: Walking Tour

Location: Begins @ MoCA, Museum lobby at 215 Centre Street (between Grand and Howard Sts)

Dates: February 9/10, 16/17 and 23, 2013; 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m./1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Fee: $12-15/person ($8 for museum members); advance registration required. Space is limited.

Lunar New Year is the liveliest and most important celebration in Chinese culture and Chinatown is the place to experience it. MoCA’s walking tour takes guests through New York Chinatown to learn about holiday traditions and customs; discover the area’s history; and sample a few New Year’s treats. Tours are conducted in English and are led by MoCA docents with personal or family roots in the neighborhood. In case of inclement weather, tours will be held in the galleries. For information and reservations please call 212-619-4785.


Children’s Museum of the Arts

Location: 103 Charlton St.

New York, NY 10014

(212) 274-0986


Dates: Now through March 31, 2012

Price: Free

Explore the arts and culture of New York’s Chinese community at the Children’s Museum of the Arts with a special celebration on Saturday, January 28. The festival will include a variety visual art experiences to teach families and children about traditional and contemporary arts in China. The Chinese Theatre Works will perform “Tiger Tales” and a shadow puppet show, capped off by a special performance of the Chinese Lion Dancers of PS124.