Ring in the New Year
When it comes to the lunisolar New Year, the Chinese don’t do anything by halves.
San Nin Faai Lok! Or Xin Nian Kuai Le! Is what you’ll hear when the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Day. Chinese New Year’s Day that is. The former being ‘Happy New Year!’ in Cantonese (pronounced san knee fy lock) and the latter is the Mandarin version (pronounced sing nee-ann koo-why ler, in case you were wondering).
Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year runs according to a lunisolar calendar, with the first day of the New Year falling on whenever the new moon appears between 21 January and 20 February.
As with a lot of Chinese festivals, this is a time for family with a ‘reunion’ dinner in place of a fancy restaurant booking. And dumplings. Lots and lots of dumplings, called ‘Jiaozi’.
Asides from scrubbing and rub-a-dub-dubbing, red is a BIG thing. It’s seen as lucky – the sky is draped in red lanterns, children are given money in red envelopes and people wear red. If anyone knows how to paint the town red, it’s the Chinese.
And, of course, there’s fireworks. Cute story – there’s a mythical creature named ‘Year’ who comes out on New Year’s Eve to harm people, property and animals. So the Chinese stay up all night and let off fireworks to ward Year off, along with any other evil spirits who have come out to party.
So when it comes to the countdown, eyes on the clock, 10, 9, 8, 7…friends and loved ones at the ready…6, 5, 4…remember those important words…3, 2… Xin Nian Kuai Le!< Go Back To Festivals