On Saturday 28th January, the bells will chime and ring in a new year, but haven’t we just done that?

Was it all just a whisky-fuelled hallucination? No. No matter how much whisky you may have consumed, the one thing you didn’t imagine was the end of 2016. The Chinese New Year and the coming year of the rooster, however, is right around the corner. The traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar indicates both the moon phase and the time of the solar year and, as a result, has an extra month inserted every few years in order to catch up with the solar cycle. This is also why the Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year according to the Gregorian calendar.

The feast has many traditions surrounding it including the giving of gifts in red envelopes, decorating the house with red banners and setting off fireworks. The origin of these traditions lies in the story of the mythological beast, Nian, that would come into a village on the first day of the year causing destruction and eating villagers, especially children. One year when all the villagers were leaving to hide, an elderly man decided he would stay and get revenge on Nian. The other villagers thought he was insane and left him alone in the town as he put up red papers and set off firecrackers. When the villagers returned to find nothing destroyed, they assumed the man had been a god sent to save them and realised that Nian was afraid of the colour red and loud noises. From then on, the villagers would hang red lanterns, wear red clothes and light firecrackers to scare away Nian at New Year and he never returned to the town.

A time for family and feasts, the Chinese New Year celebrations normally begin on New Year’s Eve and last for around 15 days until the middle of the first month of the new year. The New Year’s Eve dinner is one of the most important meals and is typically a time for family reunions. Rich in symbolism, the menu is made up of foods that will usher in wealth, happiness and good fortune, with many of the ingredients homophones for words indicating prosperity, good luck or even money.

What better accompaniment to this rich and symbolic New Year’s Eve dinner than a drink that takes its name from “Water of Life”? Whether you are wishing good fortune with Glenkeir Treasures Secret Islay, warding off Nian with the red box of Macallan 12 Year Old Sherry Oak, or just celebrating with a family favourite like Glenrothes Sherry Cask Reserve or GlenDronach 18 Year Old, we wish you all a very Happy New Year and 吉慶有餘 – may your happiness be without limit!

Glenkeir Treasures
Secret Islay
£55 Buy Now

12 Year Old Sherry Oak
£70 Buy Now

Sherry Cask Reserve
£54 Buy Now

18 Year Old
£90 Buy Now