You know that one of the mantras in the life of a Bubbleista is that almost any
excuse reason is a good one to live ordinary life in extraordinary ways, and the celebration of Chinese New Year is no exception.
It’s the Year of the Sheep, baa-a-a-aby (you see what I did there?)! But before we get to all of the festivities and merriment of celebrating, I think we ought to get something straight first. If you’re like me you’ve asked yourself this questions at least once in your life: “Ram, goat, sheep, lamb–what, exactly, is the difference?” So, for the sake of understanding just a bit more let’s clear up the terminology:
- A ram is a male sheep
- A lamb in a baby sheep
- A ewe is a female sheep
- A goat is a different species altogether, but it is closely related to sheep
Not that we’ve clarified the terminology, apparently it doesn’t matter. According to an article on CNN, there seems to be just as much dispute and confusion among the Asian culture as to which animal actually symbolizes the New Year: “A wander through Hong Kong’s streets and shopping malls yield..[s]tore windows decked out with cartoon-like sheep, cheeky goats and curly-horned rams in a marketing bonanza some say is bigger than Christmas in the West.”
Yep, that clears it all up.
So, in light of the lack of a clear cut choice, and since goats are technically not sheep, I’ve decided to focus on rams, sheep, and lambs when it comes to my suggested ways to celebrate and commemorate the New Year. Hey–my site, my rules.
Here are The Bubbleista’s top 5 ways to celebrate the Year of the Sheep:
Scotch drinkers: For those serious about their whisk(e)y and scotch, Sheep Dip Malt Whisky fits the bill. The scotch is described as “a hand crafted scotch vatted malt whisky made from sixteen single malt whiskies aged between eight and sixteen years in first fill oak, perfectly balanced floral, fresh fruits, smoke and Islay flavors.” $40.00
Red wine drinkers: Stumbled upon this perfect red blend on a recent wine expedition and I’m so glad I did. The 2011 Le Grand Noir is a smooth drinking Cabernet-Shiraz blend full of rich dark fruit flavors and aromas. Tastes more expensive that it costs. $10.00
Sparkling wine drinkers: Ram’s Gate Sparkling Brut Rosé is a lovely bubbly from Sonoma and it’s delish. Strawberry, vanilla, and peach one the nose with solid, mouth-watering acidity and citrus on the palate. This special sparkler should be ordered directly from the winery. $52.00
Spring rolls are one of the traditional dishes serves at feasts to celebrate the New Year in Asian cultures, so it seems perfect to make lamb spring rolls. Get the recipes for some delicious variations from Goodfood.com here; the Zesty & Spicy blog here; or Chef Extraordinaire Wolfgang Puck’s here.
If you were born in the years 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, how about this lovely little trinket to celebrate this year’s Chinese Zodiac sign? This sheep charm by Paloma Picasso for Tiffany & Co is 18 carat gold and has gleaming diamonds for eyes. And it’s also the perfect reason to talk your way into getting a little blue box.
Know of a brand new baby that has or will be born this year? Nothing could be sweeter than the “Saute-moutons” Hermes plush toy lamb made of 100% shearling. Perfect for cuddling and the ideal choice for baby’s 1st stuffed animal.
Feeling a little sheepish (I got a million of ‘em!) about DIY? These craft projects are easy enough to be tackled by even these least crafty. Make your own sheep and goat cake pops with this recipe from Craftsy.com. You can up the crafting ante with a cute and unique red sheep lantern as decoration. Project instructions can be found here.
One final note. Have you ever tried to figure out if the Chinese New Year for a particular year is celebrating you? Here’s the secret: if your age is a factor of 12. In other words, whenever a person is a newborn; 12; 24; 36; 48; 60; 72; 84; 96; 108, etc., that is the year that Chinese New Year celebrates you. Easy, right? So much simpler than trying to look up your birth year on the Chinese zodiac calendar.
So how will “ewe” celebrate the Chinese New Year?