Time has come to bid farewell to the Year of the Rooster and welcome the Year of the Dog! It’s time for Chinese New Year. It usually takes place in the middle of February since it follows the lunar calendar. This year, it starts on February 16th.
It’s a colourful celebration that is marked not just in China and Hong Kong but anywhere in the world where Chinese people live. They ring bells, light firecrackers and watch traditional lion dances.
On New Years Eve, families get together for dinner. Those who live away from home usually return for a family reunion. Delicious dumplings are usually served. The next morning, people clean their houses in a symbolic gesture to sweep away bad luck.
Once the house or apartment is clean, people decorate their homes, usually with red lanterns, paper cutouts and door gods.
People also give out red envelopes filled with money, usually to those who are younger than them, to wish them well. It’s also common to give these red envelopes, called “lai see” to people who help: guards, bus drivers, helpers, waiters to say thank you for their service. Some teenagers now have red envelope apps so that they can receive cash transfers digitally.
This year, Chinese New Year will usher in the Year of the Dog. According to Chinese astrology, your year of birth reflects which animal you represent which in turn determines your personality. Anyone born in the year of the dog is said to be serious and responsible.
So, for those of you celebrating Chinese New Year: kung hei fat choi (it means “may you prosper!”)
The colour red symbolises happiness and luck for the Chinese.
The number 8 is a very lucky number for the Chinese.
Although we are used to getting fortune cookies with Chinese food, they were invented in San Francisco, USA!
This article was written by Mallika Kapur, a journalist and a mom!