The Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year) marks the start of a 15 day celebration of the new year.
Each year is also associated with one of 12 years of the zodiac. The C.E. (Common Era) year 2016, is the year of the Monkey, and February 8 marks the start of the year.
Many cultures have been influenced by the Chinese New Year celebration, including geographic neighbours, and others with some kinship bond with Chinese culture. Nearby cultures that embrace some type of traditions similar to the Chinese New Year celebration are the Koreans, Vietnamese, Mongolians, and Tibetans. Countries with Han Chinese populations also honour the Chinese New Year celebration, including Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Laos.
Although not an official national holiday, Chinese New Year is widely celebrated among Chinese populations and their friends in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
Some Greetings & Customs
The most common way to wish someone a Happy New Year is Gong Xi Fa Cai in Mandarin or Gong Hey Fat Choy in Cantonese.
- Greet others with “Gung Hey Fat Choy” which means “Wishing You Prosperity and Wealth”.
- Giving two lee see’s to each child. Because happiness comes in two’s, do not just give one. This is your way of passing good luck to the next generation.
- Wear brand new clothes – preferably in red. Children should wear new clothes and new shoes.
As you prepare for this important holiday, think of the changes you want to make in your life … perhaps spend more time with your family, reduce your credit card debts or pursue a new interest.
Celebrations in Guelph
Many members of our teams and our community are taking time to mark the start of the New Year.
A City wide event is typically hosted by the Guelph Chinese Canadian Cultural Association, and held in a local school. You can check this site for more details about how to participate in this event – http://www.gccca.ca/ (site is in mandarin – use google translate option for a basic form of translation)