Gung hay fat choy! Happy new year!
Chinese New Year, often called the Spring Festival, is the most important holiday in China and Chinese communities around the world.
Gung hay fat choy is how Cantonese speakers wish you a happy new year—literally “wishing you great happiness and prosperity.” In China, the official language is Mandarin. Gong xi fa cai is how Mandarin-speakers wish you a happy new year—literally “wishing you to be prosperous in the coming year.”
For more than 3,000 years, Chinese New Year is the beginning of a new year in the Chinese calendar. The historic Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, meaning dates are determined by both the moon (lunar) and the sun (solar). Months begin with every new moon, when the moon is not visible in the night sky. The new year starts on the new moon nearest the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, sometime between January 21 and February 20.
The Chinese New Year 2017 begins on January 28. The festivities end two weeks later, on what is known as the Lantern Festival.
During the Chinese New Year’s celebrations, there are many traditional activities, some local and others celebrated universally. The Chinese believe that as they enter a new year, they should start a new beginning. They clean their houses, pay off all their debts, purchase new clothes, paint their doors, and even get new haircuts to have a fresh start for the new year. Homes throughout China are decorated with special banners, many of which are red and gold; the traditional representations of happiness and prosperity.¹
One very fun tradition is exchanging gifts. A traditional present that is given is small red envelopes filled with “lucky money”. These envelopes are given to children by their family and friends. Every year since my children were little I give them a red envelope with $5 in it and a message to wish them well through the next year.
The Year of the Fire Rooster I have read will be a powerful one, with no middle of the road when it comes to moving forward. It is a year themed with much success, triumphs and great new beginnings. Impressions will count, and you’ll want to be clear on your intentions concerning love, money, and business. In a Rooster Year, all the Chinese animals can reap great rewards by tapping into Rooster traits – loyalty, commitment, hard work, family values, and outstanding appearances are just some of the characteristics that will be rewarded this year.
Why would I celebrate Chinese New Year? I find the colour, the energy, the meaning and the celebrations hard to dismiss. I enjoy another focused opportunity to begin again with purpose. My favourite colour is red, which in Chinese culture symbolises good fortune and joy, so I can dress for the occasion! And, who doesn’t love a good Dragon dance?
If you are celebrating, enjoy your festivities – if you are not, you could take advantage of the new moon energy of the beginning of a new lunar cycle and focus on what you want and plan out your actions to achieve it.
Why not celebrate more and worry less? Why not feel that good fortune is afoot? Why not take every opportunity to refocus and make plans? I know in my home this weekend you will see lots of red and hear many wishes of Gung hay fat choy!
¹Ref. and for more information – http://www.nationalgeographic.org/media/gung-hay-fat-choy/