Thursday, 3 February 2011

Happy Chinese New Year 2011! Guo Nian Hao, Gong Xi Fa Cai, Celebrating the Year of the Rabbit

Today is 1 January 2011(western calendar: 3 February 2011), according to the Chinese lunar calendar, the year of the rabbit starts from today.

The date for the Chinese New Year is different every year if you are using a western calendar, but normally falls between January and February.

The Chinese New Year is also the time for family reunion, and it is the Chinese equivalent of Christmas celebrations in western countries.

The Chinese New Year is also called Spring Festival and it is the biggest day for celebration in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, North Korea and Singapore. Chinese New Year is also one of the five major celebration days in Malaysia.

The Rabbit Years:

Years 1891, 1903, 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023, 2035, 2047, 2059, 2071, 2083, 2095, 2107...

Characters of People Born in the Year of the Rabbit:

It is said that people who are born in the year of the rabbit are the luckiest of all among the 12 Chinese zodiac animals. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are articulate, talented, and ambitious. They are virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. Rabbit people are admired, trusted, and are often financially lucky.

They are fond of gossip but are tactful and generally kind. Rabbit people seldom lose their temper. They are clever at business and being conscientious, never back out of a contract.

They would make good gamblers for they have the uncanny gift of choosing the right thing. However, they seldom gamble, as they are conservative and wise. They are most compatible with those born in the years of the Sheep, Pig, and Dog.

Chinese New Year Customs

Before the New Year, families clean their homes, this is to clear all the bad things out so they can start a new and fresh year. They also hang New Year scrolls on the gates and main doors, these are normally written in Chinese with golden or black colours on a red background. On New Year's eve from 8PM to midnight, most Chinese people watch the Spring Festival gala on TV, which is a mixture of performances by various Chinese artists, pop stars, dancers and magicians. Children's performances are also very popular.

At around midnight of Chinese New Year's eve, people eat dumplings so that they will be prosperous and have a good year ahead. Combined with this are beautiful and colourful fireworks in the dark sky and the very loud noise of firecrackers to announce the arrival of the Chinese New Year.

On the day of the Chinese New Year, the younger generation will visit the older generation to say "Chun Jie Hao", "Guo Nian Hao", (Happy New Year) and have lunch and dinner together. As it is the biggest family reunion, the best food and delicacies are eaten on this day. Traditionally they include a fish dish, as the pronunciation of fish in Chinese is “Yu” and this sounds similar to the Chinese word for “Abundance”.

Red is the luckiest colour in China and the number eight - “Ba” is also considered the most lucky. This pronunciation is similar to the word “Fa” - “Make Fortune”. In China, people spend fortune to buy number plates, phone and mobile phone numbers ending in eight, the more eight in it the better.

When children say “Guo Nian Hao” “Happy Chinese New Year” to their grand parents, parents and relatives, they get money in a red envelope, which is called “Ya Sui Qian” - red evelope. In Western countries children tend to get presents on Christmas day, but Chinese children get money in red envelopes that they can use on toys if they want.

People tend to wear new clothes both inside and outside on the day, especially children, to symbolise a fresh and clean start. If you were born in the year of the animal which is celebrating, for example if you were born in the year of the rabbit, then you would wear red underwear on Chinese New Year's day for prosperity and good luck.

I wish everyone Chun Jie Hao (Happy Chinese New Year), Tu Nian Da Ji (Wishing You
Good Luck in the Rabbit Year) and Gong Xi Fa Cai (Wishing You Good Fortune in the New Year)!


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