Today welcomes the Chinese New Year, the year of the monkey 猴, which will last until 27th January 2017. Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival and is marked by the lunisolar Chinese calendar, so the date changes from year to year. Just like our New Year, the festivities begin the day before the New Year but in contrast will continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year.
Each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese zodiac is divided into 12 houses, each house has a length of a year. This year it’s the Year of the Monkey, the ninth animal in the cycle.
People born in the Year of the Monkey are characterised as lively, quick-witted, curious, innovative and mischievous, but it is also believed to be one of the most unlucky years in the Chinese calendar.
Archie – Year of the Rabbit 兔
Trustworthy, empathic, modest, diplomatic, sincere, sociable, caretakers.
Lucky numbers: 3, 4 & 9
Lucky colours: Red, Blue, Pink & Purple
Lucky Flowers: Snapdragon, Plantain lily & Nerve plant
Lucky Directions: East, South-east & South
Mummy – Year of the Pig 猪
Honorable, philanthropic, determined, optimistic, sincere, sociable.
Lucky numbers: 2, 5 & 8
Lucky colours: Yellow, Grey, Brown & Gold
Lucky Flowers: Hydrangea, Pitcher Plant & Marguerite
Lucky Directions: South-east & North-east
Daddy – Year of the Rooster 雄
Honest, energetic, intelligent, flamboyant, flexible, diverse, confident.
Lucky numbers: 5, 7 & 8
Lucky colours: Yellow, Brown & Gold
Lucky Flowers: Gladiola & Impatiens
Lucky Directions: West, South-west & North-east
There are some interesting Chinese New Year’s Day taboos that I learned about when reading about it, below are ten of them:
1. Taking medicine on the first day of the lunar year means one will get ill for a whole year.
2. Porridge should not be eaten, because it is considered that only poor people have porridge for breakfast, and people don’t want to start the year “poor” as this is a bad omen.
3. A woman may not leave her house; otherwise she will be plagued with bad luck for the entire coming year.
4, If you sweep on this day then your wealth will be swept away too.
5. The cry of a child is believed to bring bad luck to the family, so parents do their best to keep children as happy as possible.
6. Clocks, scissors, and pears all have a bad meaning in Chinese culture.
7. According to tradition, people must stay up late on New Year’s Eve to welcome the New Year, and then to let off firecrackers and fireworks to scare off inauspicious spirits and Nian, the New Year monster.
8. People do not wash clothes on the first and second day, because these two days are celebrated as the birthday of Shuishen (water god).
9. Hair must not be washed on the first day of the lunar year as it is seen to “wash one’s fortune away” at the beginning of the New Year.
10. The use of knives and scissors is to be avoided as any accident is thought to lead to inauspicious things and the depletion of wealth.