Happy Chinese New Year Everyone!

Happy Chinese New Year 2011

Just a shout out to the Chinese readers in Singapore, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other parts of the world – HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!! 恭喜发财, 万事如意!! (literal translation – Wishing you great prosperity and a smooth sailing year!)

For non-Chinese readers, today is the eve of the first day in the lunar calendar, which makes tomorrow the official New Year’s Day for the Chinese. CNY starts on the first day and ends after 15 days. During the eve of CNY, it’s tradition for the family to gather for the reunion dinner. Everyone gets half-day off at work, so my dad is already home cleaning the house. I’m waiting for my mom to get back so we can have dinner later (not before finishing a coaching session).

Each year is represented by an animal zodiac, with a total of 12 animal zodiacs for a 12-year cycle. This year is the Rabbit Year, hence the bunny in the pic above :mrgreen: . I was born in the year of the Rat which was 3 years ago.

The main action of CNY takes place during Days 1 and 2, also known as 初一 (chu 1) and 初二 (chu 2). During the 2 days, everyone visits relatives’ homes (and in some cases, friends’ places too) to wish each other happy CNY. The elders will give the children (anyone who’s not married yet, really) money in the form of red packets, as a form of blessing. They look like this:

Mandarin Oranges and Red Packets
And of course, not forgetting the Mandarin oranges. They’re an essential part of CNY.

When I was young, CNY was pretty exciting – now it has become more of a yearly ritual. I enjoy the reminiscent aspect of the festival, where you get to see all the aunties, uncles, grandparents, cousins, etc. But it’s quite hard to communicate with them, especially when most of them only speak in Chinese. Till today I’m still figuring out how to describe my work to them in Chinese. Mostly I just tell them I run my own business that’s on education and helping others. I guess that’s not too far off, right? :)

Well, here’s a wonderful CNY to all of you! Enjoy the goodies and have fun during these few days! I’ll continue to post new articles in the next few days :dance: