Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is a major holiday in China and other Asian countries. In 2017 the holiday falls on Saturday January 28 and signals the beginning of a week long national holiday.
The Chinese New Year is steeped in over 1,000 years of tradition and is considered both a religious and cultural holiday. Like the Western New Year, the Chinese New Year signals the end of one year and a fresh start in the next.
Many Chinese nationals still believe in the zodiac and superstitions observed year round and especially during the New Year. One such tradition is giving out red envelopes with cash (called hong bao) as a New Year gift or bonus. The red envelopes signify prosperity and good luck as well as being a colour that scares away evil spirits.
Another such tradition is tossing Yee Sang for prosperity. Yee Sang is a traditional dish composed of pickled vegetables and strips of raw fish. When eating it the family and friends gather around the table and toss the ingredients high in the air to signify an increase in abundance and prosperity with a joyful exclamation of “Loh Hey”, which means to ‘toss high’. The tossing is a symbolic wish for fortunes to rise in the forthcoming year and some believe that the higher you toss Yee Sang, the more good things will come your way.
During every evening after the first day of the New Year, friends and even strangers are freely invited and an ‘open door’ is standard. In this spirit, over 6 million Chinese nationals are expected to travel overseas. So if you are planning a trip to China, the New Year is the busiest travel period of the year so get your tickets early!
The Year of the Rooster
2017 is the Year of the Rooster. Each New Year is designated the ‘year of’ one of 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac and each animal has different characteristics that will characterize the forthcoming year and those born during it.
Before alarm clocks, the Rooster crowed to awaken people and signal the start of the day’s work. So the Rooster is known for its punctuality. Roosters are also characterized as being confident and this extends to pride in their homes, being organized and neat. In the spirit of the Year of the Rooster you may want to give your house a good spring clean before January 28 and ‘sweep out the bad luck’ as those in China will. But be careful to hide the broom on New Year’s Day to guard against ‘sweeping away the good luck’ that comes with the New Year!
After some organizing and cleaning you could buy a bouquet of fresh flowers for luck. Try a bouquet of cherry blossoms and pussy willows which together signify reliability, perseverance, new beginnings and wealth.
Are you a Rooster? If you were born in 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993 or 2005 you are the Year of the Rooster. You are known for being bright, highly motivated, hard-working and honest. However, you may be a bit too blunt and impatient at times. So be careful because your ‘tell it like it is’ trait can hurt other’s feelings. Your lucky numbers are 5, 7 and 8 but watch out for 1, 3, and 9!
Happy New Year!
除夕夜，是家人团聚的时刻。无论离家多远，中国人都会在这一天赶回家中，与家人共进晚餐并且守岁，庆祝新一年的开始。 从大年初一开始，中国人会去拜访亲戚朋友们， 带去礼物和祝福的话。 这也是一年当中，最好的社交机会。