Clifton College Website

Student Contributions

Elizabeth Edwards
Upper Sixth
West Town

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year!

Last Monday welcomed in the most important celebration in Chinese culture. The Chinese New Year, celebrated on the 23rd of January 2012, marks the 4710th year in the Chinese calendar. The holiday lasts for 15 days, ending with the Lantern Festival and is celebrated globally, especially in China, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.

The Chinese New Year; also called the ‘Spring Festival’ (taken from the literal pinyin translation, Chūn Jié) takes place in the first solar term of the Chinese calendar year, known as Lichun and marks the end of the winter season.

The origin of the date is shrouded in age-old mystery. It gains its significance through several myths and legends. Supposedly in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came (the rat, the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the ram, the monkey, the rooster, the dog and the pig) and so each of these were named after a year, with the people born in each year having some of the animal’s personality.

The customs and traditions of the celebration vary considerably however many people give gifts and spend money on clothes, decorations and special food items. Many practices hold significant symbolic value; for example the giving of red, money-filled envelopes with red being a sign of “good fortune” and “happiness” and also cleaning the house to “sweep away any ill-fortune.” A feast is held in the evening and the night usually ends with spectacular fireworks.

2012 is the year of the Water Dragon. The mythical creature is regarded as a symbol of might and intelligence and was associated with the emperor of China. People born under the zodiac sign are said to be good leaders, charismatic, passionate and egotistic. “They’re driven, unafraid of challenges, and willing to take risks”. They like to help others but are better off when they are independent. Water Dragons have a good perspective and “their decisions, if well-researched, are usually better since they allow others to become involved”.

The dragon is considered the most lucky and successful zodiac sign. CBS reports that in a poll carried out in Hong Kong, “70% of couples desired dragon babies”. Unsurprisingly there tends to be a baby boom with couples timing their child’s birth to occur during the zodiac year and according to news agency Xinhua, “China is expecting a 5% increase in the number of babies born in 2012”.

Overall the most important thing to remember is “the Chinese New Year tradition is to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone”. Happy Chinese New Year!

10 February 2012

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