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  • Koreen Liew-Young

Gong Xi Fa Cai / 恭喜发财!

Happy Chinese New Year!

So it's the Year of the Horse...

Previously, (being your typical Chinese New Zealander,) I knew nothing about the festive event other than the fact that you get to eat a whole lot of scrumptious food.  Growing up our family just used to go to the local NZCA chinese community dinner to celebrate, see the lion dance, the lion, (actually two people in a glorious costume,) would perform an acrobatic feat to find the red packet or hong bao, accompanied by the clanging of cymbals, and then, it was time to chow down.  Grandparents and kids first, it's only polite. You know, respect for the elder generation.

And to add to the shame of my ignorance of Chinese New Year- I have always relied on the web for the actual date, I know, pretty pathetic really.  But after returning from China- I'm excited to celebrate CNY purposefully and a little more informed.

So I decided to do a fast Google, and put together a  quick summary for all you Chinese New Year newbies. Someone please correct me if I've got something wrong as I don't pretend to be a Know-It-All with all things Chinese.

  • Happy Chinese New Year is said "Xin Nian Kuai le" in Mandarin, but people tend to say, "Gong Xi Fa Cai" means "Wishing you to be prosperous in the coming year."

  • Chinese New Year is actually called the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year and is determined by the Lunar Year

  • If you thought the super long weekend was epic at Easter, the CNY party goes on for 15 days

  • Light firecrackers to scare away any monsters, maybe half dragon, half lion monsters who come out of hiding and attack people, especially little children

  • Leading up to the New Year, clean your house, and it's a good way to get rid of any bad luck associated with the past year, even get a new haircut or some new clothes. Apparently, with a new trendy look, bad spirits won't recognise you and follow you into the New Year.

  • On Chinese New Year, just chill out, this is your one day where it's ok to be a slob- don't do any cleaning, washing or take out the trash - cleaning means washing away your luck and prosperity.

  • Red is associated with luck and prosperity. Give out little red packets with money to children to spread wealth and good fortune.

  • The night before Chinese New Year should be saved for immediate family eating alot of glorious food, followed by many dinners with other friends and acquaintances, food coma to follow shortly.

Take from it what you will, as obviously the Chinese are very superstituous,but I think it's interesting reading into what's important for other cultures.

The attached image is something I prepared earlier, inspired to get out my old pencils and inks.......

So to everyone...Happy Chinese New Year, Xin Nian Kuai le, 新年快乐 Gong Xi Fa Cai, 恭喜发财!

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