The Chinese New Year or the Lunar New Year?

The Chinese New Year is upon us again – where´s Januay gone? I am looking forward to The Chinese New Year or the Lunar New Year?joining the celebrations in London tomorrow. People seem to be taking a greater interest in everything Chinese these days, no doubt aided by their economic expansion as part of the so-called BRIC economies. So, there are now more and more articles on the peculiarities of their culture.

I have been reading about the Chinese New Year to help me prepare and better understand the activities that I´m seeing tomorrow, 10th February in London´s Chinatown. Here are some fun facts.

  • Chinese New Year goes by the lunar calendar, so it falls on a different day every year. Next year, it´ll be on 31st January.
  • It´s origin is to do with harvest, just like so many other celebrations across cultures.
  • The politically correct name is now Lunar New Year in recognition to other cultures that observe that calendar too.
  • Have you cleaned your house yet? If not, go and remove any traces of `bad luck´ before the New Year. Something like `spring cleaning´, but during this freezing February.
    If you do so afterwards, you might end up removing any good luck the New Year might bring.
  • Red is the colour. The Chinese consider red as the luckiest colour.
  • Younger members of the family receive money on red envelopes, pretty The Chinese New Year or the Lunar New Year? - Red Envelopes for moneymuch as in that HSBC TV commercial which they have cleverly run again this year.
  • Number four is avoided, as the letters closely resemble the Chinese for `death´. Spooky!
  • Chinese place a big emphasis on food symbology. 

Bamboo shoots = wealth
Black moss seaweed = wealth
Dried Bean Curd = happiness (note: fresh tofu is not served because the color white symbolizes death and misfortune in Chinese culture). The Chinese New Year or the Lunar New Year? - Fish = abundance
Chicken = happiness and marriage (especially when served with  “dragon foods,” such as lobster), family reunion (if served whole)
Eggs = fertility
Egg Rolls = wealth
Fish served whole = prosperity
Chinese garlic chives = everlasting, a long life The Chinese New Year or the Lunar New Year? - Fortune cookies
Lychee nuts = close family ties
Noodles = A long life
Oranges = wealth
Peanuts = a long life
Pomelo = abundance, prosperity, having children
Seeds = lotus seeds, watermelon seeds, etc. – having a large number of children
Tangerines = luck

  • Chinese say `Congratulations and be prosperous´ to each other to celebrate the New Year.

So, congratulations and be prosperous during the year of the snake!


About A Londoner from Afar

Cheese & choc lover, marketer and linguist who would like to explore and share those aspects that still have the power to make her stay in the amazingly vibrant city of London after nearly 10 years.
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