HAPPY NEW YEAR

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rtemagicc_petra_01_jpg-jordanIts New year in China, i’ll love to share this with you;

The Chinese New Year has a great history. In our past, people lived in an agricultural society and worked all year long. They only took a break after the harvest and before the planting of seeds. This happens to coincide with the beginning of the lunar New Year.

The Chinese New Year is very similar to the Western one, rich in traditions, folklores and rituals. It has been said that it is a combination of the Western Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. This is hardly an exaggeration!

The origin of the Chinese New Year itself is centuries old – in fact, too old to actually be traced. It is popularly recognized as the Spring Festival and celebrations last 15 days.

Preparations tend to begin a month before the date of the Chinese New Year (similar to a Western Christmas). During this time people start buying presents, decoration materials, food and clothing. A huge clean-up gets underway days before the New Year, when Chinese houses are cleaned from top to bottom. This ritual is supposed to sweep away all traces of bad luck. Doors and windowpanes are often given a new coat of paint, usually red, then decorated with paper cuts and couplets with themes such as happiness, wealth and longevity printed on them.

The eve of the New Year is perhaps the most exciting part of the holiday, due to the anticipation. Here, traditions and rituals are very carefully observed in everything from food to clothing. Dinner is usually a feast of seafood and dumplings, signifying different good wishes. Delicacies include prawns, for liveliness and happiness, dried oysters ( ho xi), for all things good, fish dishes or Yau-Yu to bring good luck and prosperity, Fai-chai (Angel Hair), an edible hair-like seaweed to bring prosperity, and dumplings boiled in water (Jiaozi) signifying a long-lasting good wish for a family. It is customary to wear something red as this color is meant to ward off evil spirits. But black and white are frowned upon, as these are associated with mourning. After dinner, families sit up for the night playing cards, board games or watching television programmers dedicated to the occasion. At midnight, fireworks light up the sky.

On the day itself, an ancient custom called Hong Bao, meaning Red Packet, takes place. This involves married couples giving children and unmarried adults money in red envelopes. Then the family begins to say greetings from door to door, first to their relatives and then to their neighbors. Like the Western saying “let bygones be bygones,” at Chinese New Year, grudges are very easily cast aside. Tributes are made to ancestors by burning incense and the symbolic offering of foods. As firecrackers burst in the air, evil spirits are scared away by the sound of the explosions. The end of the New Year is marked by the Festival of Lanterns, which is a celebration with singing, dancing and lantern shows.

At the Festival, all traditions are honored. The predominant colors are red and gold. “Good Wish” banners are hung from the ceilings and walls. The “God of Fortune” is there to give Hong Baos. Lion dancers perform on stage continuously. Visitors take home plants and flowers symbolizing good luck. An array of New Years specialty food is available in the Food Market. Visitors purchase new clothing, shoes and pottery at the Market Fair. Bargaining for the best deal is commonplace! We will feel the yoke of responsibility coming down on us this year. No success can be achieved without conscientious efforts. The trials and tribulations the Ox year brings will be mainly on the home front. It is a good time to settle domestic affairs and put your house in order.

Way-out fashions, abstract art forms and newfangled notions will be given an impassive stare by the phlegmatic Ox, while politics and diplomacy will simply be treated with indifference. Better stick to routine and support conservative policies. Frivolities are out!

This year will no doubt bear fruit, but the motto is: “No work, no pay!” Time waits for no man; if we are too lazy to sow then we can blame no one if we have nothing to reap. We will find a great many things requiring our attention, and the list of what needs to be done will seem endless. The Spartan influence of the Ox will be a constantly cracking whip over our heads. Better to apply oneself diligently than waste time arguing with the authorities. They will prevail, as the year of the Ox favors discipline.

Most conflicts this year will arise more from a lack of communication and refusal to give in on small technicalities than anything else. But hang on and be patient. Everything will be sorted out and we will be rewarded for our efforts–so long as we remember to do things the conventional way. This is no time for tricky shortcuts.

For the rebels, it may be worthwhile to point out that although the stoical Ox is soft-spoken, he carries a big stick, and this is his year.

I think it passes a good message though we might not have the same beliefs its a good example of change, lets keep working hard and be positive in all we do.

1 Comment

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  1. emorevoke

    I dont know why any one will not think that it will be a waste of time, to share the Chinese culture with others who might have no idea about it ? A friend from China sent me this beautiful history and meaning of the year of the OX and i decided to share with my readers. Well please for those who appreciate this write pls do not fail to add a comment.

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