Chinese & Vietnamese New Year's Celebration in Vershire

Vershire Residents Continue & Honor Family & Ancestral Traditions

The Vershire Women's Wellness Circle's 2nd annual Asian Lunar New Year celebration was just as delicious as the first! Of course, it’s not just about the food, but a feast like this is bound to attract attention, and sharing a meal is an important part of this community event, like many others.

Scallion Pancakes, Green Beans, Egg & Tomato Stir Fry, with sauces

Here are just a few of the delectable dishes we sampled last Sunday afternoon at the Vershire Town Center, most prepared by Marissa Mazzucco and her mother, Joyce Mazzucco: Baos (steamed buns) filled with a shrimp mushroom filling, and Dou Sha Bao (red bean paste), Scallion Pancakes, Turkey & Shrimp Shumai, Egg & Tomato Stir Fry, Mango Daikon Salad, Chicken Medley Soup, Chinese Cold Cucumbers, Sesame Noodles, Almond Cookies, and Gok Jai as well as Almond Chicken with Vegetable and White Sauce.

Cucumber Orange Salad, Sesame Noodles and more

Van MacPherson prepared the almond chicken dish, a tradition in her Vietnamese family. “Yes, I spent one hour to prepare at home and brought them to the town kitchen” to finish cooking, she explained. “I had a hard time to stir fry the dish, even with the wonderful old wok that Marissa provided, because the burner was not big and strong for the wok. I had to use the metal frying pan to cook ....the meat is not brown and sticking to the pan...the heat is not strong.... But the dish turned out just as good as I cook at home. I use the nonstick frying pan at home to cook most of my meal. I don't use the wok.” It’s always nice to have options - and I agree, it was delicious!

Van MacPherson at the buffet

Some of Van’s other family traditions for celebrating the New Year include, “relatives visiting each other’s families, sharing their specialty meals and desserts; children wearing the new clothes their mother sews for them; talking about the accomplishments, the events that happened during the past year and new hopes for the new year. Children get together to play, eat, talk, laugh.  They get money gifts in a red envelope from older relatives, then go to the market to spend on things that they love. The adults sit around, talking, eating… having the best time of the whole year.

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“We had special dishes that the women in each house prepare for the whole week before New Year that would last the whole week. Food is key to bring everyone together with love and hope for the new year. It is like Thanksgiving in the U.S., but we have a whole week to celebrate with different relatives and friends. The house has to be perfectly clean, polished, with new clothes, flowers… and lots of watermelon. Only time of the year we can enjoy the red color and sweetness of this fruit which will bring us luck for the new year. And of course fire crackers hanging on the door burning to celebrate the new year. The whole neighborhood filled with joy, love, and hope for the new year, no talk of politics and war.”

Enjoying a feast under the dragon's watchful eye

Marissa started the Vershire version of this tradition last year to continue the event she had hosted at her home in the past.  While her family’s Asian background is Chinese, she wants to include others in town who celebrate Lunar New Year as well.  She emphasizes that "New Year is a time for family and friends, and is not just a single day of celebration,” echoing Van’s recollections of an extended season of celebrating.  It’s also the beginning of the Year of the Fire Rooster, according to the Chinese zodiac.  Marissa offers this guidance for the year.

Wow! If there ever was a time period for intense change and positive transformation, it's January 28, 2017 through February 15, 2018, when the Year of the Fire Rooster provides tons of energy to get things done! Fire is an element that propels your life forward, so whatever you've been thinking about lately, now is the time to take swift action.

“Personal improvement projects like fitness, eating well, and enjoying the right amount of rest provide a great foundation for those born under the signs of the Monkey, Tiger, and Horse this year. You can burn out if you're not careful, especially around the intense Lunar Eclipse of February 10th. Learning to balance your lust for action with your body's basic needs will ensure you stay happy and healthy.”

“Marissa and her mother are wonderful in the kitchen, and to bring the Asian tradition to the town,” Van praised.  “Joe (her husband) and I had good time with the group of people coming. I felt wonderful to share the dish I made with neighbors… Since I got a chance to live in this country, I am very grateful and celebrate every day to have love and hope for the new day. Joe and I would like to thank Marissa, her mother, and all the people that helped for the event to celebrate the New Year. Wonderful people in our town.”

Marissa Mazzucco cleaning up, or maybe going back for seconds!

Marissa adds, “A huge thank you to the steadfast volunteers who helped move the setup and cleanup along. Also to those who cooked. I couldn't pull this event together without you or most of all my mom. She is my rock and inspiration.

Joyce Mazzucco organizes the kitchen expertly.

“To all who couldn't make it due to schedule conflicts, we'll try again next year, when the New Year starts February 16th. Here's a blurb on the Chinese solar/lunar calander The thirteen months account for our extra leap day every four years."

Please check for updates or feel free to add your own stories and photos of Lunar Asian New Year on the Vershire Buzz Facebook page.

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