Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Chinese New Year DecorationImage: Kittikun Atsawintarangkul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy Chinese New Year, everybody! I’m not really doing anything to celebrate … well, I’m taking Chinese-themed snacks to youth group tonight. That’s about it. Now, I don’t believe in luck, but I do believe in learning about different cultures, so in that spirit …

  • ‘Gong Xi Fa Cai’ (or ‘Gung Hey Fat Choi’, in the Cantonese pronunciation) roughly means “wishing you prosperity” and is a traditional Chinese New Year’s greeting. The literal translation of ‘Happy New Year’ into Mandarin is ‘Xin Nian Kuai Le!’ but this isn’t something that would traditionally be said (so far as I know).
  • We’re now in the year of the Rabbit/Hare
    (I’m thinking about buying small easter bunnies to celebrate … not quite right, I know)
  • Rabbits are apparently: Gracious, good friend, kind, sensitive, soft-spoken, amiable, elegant, reserved, cautious, artistic, thorough, tender, self-assured, shy, astute, compassionate, lucky, flexible. Can be moody, detached, superficial, self-indulgent, opportunistic, stubborn.
    (Sounds like it could apply to anybody then  – put enough vague adjectives in there and of *course* they’ll apply to people…)
  • According to Chinese tradition, you’re not supposed to clean during the first few days of the New Year – you’ll risk “sweeping away your good luck” (great excuse!). Having said that, you’re supposed to very thoroughly clean before New Year – hmm, okay, I didn’t do that …
  • You’re supposed to serve foods that symbolise health, a long life, a rich, sweet life, prosperity and good fortune. A lot of stuff that just plain tastes good seems to fall into this category. Like: noodles symbolise long life (because they’re long?), sweet sticky buns symbolise a sweet life, spring rolls symbolise prosperity (they look like gold bars?) … sounds like an excuse for lots of awesome Chinese food to me! You can read a bit more about it here.

Dinner (unfortunately not an enormous Chinese banquet, just a stir fry) is ready so I have to run – Happy New Year! Wishing you a full, prosperous, satisfying and sweet year of the Rabbit.

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2 Responses to Gong Xi Fa Cai!

  1. CGM says:

    Happy New Year!

    (P.S. did you get the e-mail I sent you a week or so ago? It accrued to me that that address might not work any more.)

  2. Hi CGM! Yes, I did get your email – sorry that it’s taking me so long to reply (today is going to be a day of Sorting Things Out, so I will reply :)). Because I’m now working for the University I get to keep my email address (until Dec 2012, anyway!)

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