A few rituals and suggestions for pairing La Mancha DO wines so you can celebrate Chinese New Year 2021 in style.
After the Christmas holidays, marked in the west by the Medieval or Gregorian calendar, now it’s time for Chinese New Year 2021.
In an increasingly globalised world, celebrations and cultural rituals from other parts of the planet are imported, absorbed and watched with interest.
This is the case for the country that’s home to the Great Wall.
In the last decade, an significant connection has taken place between the two cultures, as reflected in the sales of wine bottled under the La Mancha Designation of Origin in China (the main importing customer for La Mancha wineries). Both habit and demand for wine consumption have grown in this market since it opened up to the international scene.
In fact, until the outbreak of COVID, the Asian giant has been the main focus for promotional actions abroad. Events with virtual seminars have recently resumed in some nearby cities such as Hong Kong.
What is the Chinese New Year and why is it celebrated “out of date” for us here in the West?
The New Year celebration is a hugely culturally significant event. Not just in China, but in other Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia or the Philippines, the agenda is set by the lunar calendar.
This year, the Lunar New Year begins on February 12 and runs until 31 January 2022.
The social importance of the Chinese New Year is similar to that of Christmas festivities in other parts of the world, as it’s a celebration with strong personal significance. It’s the perfect time for people to honour the memory of their ancestors by holding family gatherings.
Although everything has changed with coronavirus, under normal circumstances the Chinese New Year accounts for the largest mass movement of people around the world.
The Chinese calendar
Although they have adjusted to the western calendar (Gregorian) for globalisation reasons, in different cultures across the Asian continent, the (traditional) lunar calendar is hugely important for social events such as weddings and so on.
Since time immemorial, the lunar cycle calendar has also been followed for astrology, in which each of the twelve zodiac signs is represented by an animal: rat, buffalo (or ox), tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep (or goat), monkey, rooster, dog and wild boar (or pig).
How might 2021 be according to the Chinese New Year?
Each Chinese New Year is dedicated to one of the animals in the Chinese zodiac. 2021 will be the year of the Metal Ox (or ox).
According to the traditional interpretation, following the dominant character of the buffalo, 2021 would bring order, discipline and perseverance. A zodiacal interpretation in line with the new times of transition we’re living in, as we’re still adapting to the enforced changes to our habits imposed by the pandemic.
Rituals and colours to attract positive energy and prosperity
Some of the rituals can attract abundance to our homes. The best known are, for example:
- The coins ritual
- The rice ritual
- Cleansing with sandalwood
Others are connected with chromatic energy.
Avoiding the colour black (which attracts doom) on Chinese New Year’s Day for 2021 (February 12), this ritual recommends the most suitable colours for each year or Chinese zodiac sign.
Pairing the 2021 Chinese New Year with La Mancha DO wines
For such a special occasion, a wine (and even better if it’s from La Mancha) can become one of the best and most enjoyable ways of seeing in the 2021 Chinese New Year.
Out of loyalty to the Year of the Buffalo or Ox, for this animal’s hard work and perseverance, we suggest a red wine that has been through a cask ageing process.
The same patience and tenacity required, for example, of a La Mancha Crianza wine that has to comply with specifications laid down by the Regulatory Board, namely “two years of natural ageing, of which at least 6 months must be in oak barrels”.
The serving temperature should be between 15-18 degrees, with a balloon glass that allows for a better oxygenation of all the aromas. For wine lovers, La Mancha Crianza wines embody the pleasure of tasting well-integrated wood (toasted and vanilla, plus hints of coffee or cocoa) with notes reminiscent of red fruit compote.
The Tempranillo variety, the most widely grown in La Mancha, is the one most commonly used for these wines.
Meats of all kinds always make good company at the table. In winter, the ideal is red game or roasted meats, with plenty of restorative calories and good cheer at this time of year.