- February 7, 2013
Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festival in the Chinese calendar. So, "Gong Xi Fa Cai" – Happy New Year.
The most common Chinese ways of saying Happy New Year are:
Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin) and
Gong Hey Fat Choy (Cantonese)
Gong Xi = congratulations or respectfully wishing one joy.
Fa Cai = to become rich or to make money.
Thus, Gong Xi Fa Cai – pronounced Goong See Far Sigh – means “wishing you to be prosperous in the coming year.”
We must say a big thank you to Catherine Xu, one of our early childhood educators from Johnson Babies, for helping us to explain the Chinese New Year greeting.
In China, it is traditional for every family to clean their house thoroughly to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck.
People decorate windows and doors with red colour paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of good fortune, happiness, wealth, and longevity.
On the Eve of Chinese New Year, families have a feast. Food will include such items as pork, duck, chicken and sweet delicacies. The family will end the night with firecrackers.
Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes.
The Chinese New Year tradition is to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone.
Traditionally, red envelopes or red packets are passed out during the Chinese New Year’s celebrations.
Red packets almost always contain money, usually varying from a couple of dollars to several hundred. According to custom, the amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given during funerals.
The number 8 is considered lucky (for its homophone for "wealth"), and $8 is commonly found in the red envelopes.
Sometimes chocolate coins are found in the red packets.
Red envelopes are then kept under the pillow and slept on for seven days after Chinese New Year before opening because it is considered good luck when you sleep on the red envelopes for seven nights.
2013 is the Year of the Snake.
You can find out if you are a rat, tiger, horse, dog or pig by using this Chinese zodiac calculator.
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