Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Chinese New Year - Gong Xi Fa Cai!

The Year of the Rat begins on February 7, 2008. The rat is the first of the animal calendar cycle. Legend is that the Emperor was hosting a party for the first twelve animals to arrive. The rat rode upon the ox's back. Once across the river, the rat jumped off and arrived first; followed by the ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

People born in the Year of the Rat (1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996) are often perfectionists who work hard, have big ambitions, and are successful. They are charming and attract the opposite sex.

During the last few days of the last lunar month, the Chinese begin getting ready to welcome the New Year. Debts are paid, hair is cut, and new clothes are purchased. Homes are thoroughly cleaned to sweep away any ill fortune and to make way for the incoming good luck. Doors and windows are decorated with paper cut-outs with the themes of happiness, wealth and longevity. Incense is turned in homes and temples to pay respect to ancestors and ask the good for good health in the coming year. Families gather to feast in celebration. The young pay homage to the elderly and all unmarried children receive the lucky red packet with money. Red, orange, and gold are auspicious colors. Everyone loves the lion and dragon dances!

1 comment:

ruth hill radcliffe said...

I loved your description of Chinese New Year, it brought back many memories of living in Malaysia and celebrating with all my Chinese friends. And I'm a rat so this year is going to be very auspicious for me. Your blog is lovely