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Southern Chinese: Enjoy the tea; Enjoy the New Year

Southern Chinese people attach great importance to drinking tea, especially when the Spring Festival comes (the Chinese New Year based on the lunar calendar). At this time, relatives or friends visit each other and traditionally exchange their wishes and regards upon arrival; then the host will entertain the guests with three different kinds of well-prepared tea.

First, a cup of sweet tea is served, symbolizing the host's good wishes for his or her guests to have a sweet life during the entire year. The tea is brewed with crust glutinous rice and sugar. Glutinous rice is first cooked, and then placed in a hot pan to heat it into crusts, before then being brewed with sugar.

Next is a cup of "Smoked Bean Tea", which is made with six ingredients that are properly mixed: Smoked green beans, rich in protein; shredded carrot, rich in carotene (vitamin A source); shredded preserved orange peels, which can reduce phlegm (mucus); perilla seeds, which can moisten the lungs and alleviate depression; sesame, which is healthy for the stomach and can relieve fever; and some tender tea leaves, which are used to make the tea more tasty and nutritious.

The last to come is a cup of green tea, which is served after the meal.

The three cups of different tea, while serving etiquette purposes, also express people's wishes of living healthily and happily.

New Year Customs

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