Year of the Dragon

23 Jan

Today is the Chinese Lunar New Year. It’s now the Year of the Dragon, a very lucky year indeed. People try to marry, buy a house, and have children during this year, as it is seen as very fortuitous. So if you were born in 1952, 1964, 1978, 1988 or 2000, you’re in for a good year!

Traditionally, Chinese families are meant to gather together and have a great big dinner (niányèfàn). This causes the world’s largest annual human migration as millions of migrant workers and errant family members try to head to their hometowns for the holidays. The documentary “Last Train Home” is an excellent example of the craziness that ensues. This is also why I’m not traveling around China by train despite the nice long break. There are more people traveling around China than living here during this period; I’ll do my touristing around when it gets a little calmer, thanks.

Instead of presents under the tree or stockings hung by the chimney, young Chinese children can look forward to red envelopes. You say “gōng xǐ fā cái!” to an older family member and they will hand you a lucky red envelope stuffed with money. If you’ve been a good little girl or boy and did well on your exams this year, you can usually come away from a large family gathering with a decent haul.

Xīn Nián Kuài Lè





In the Country of Heaven will be on hiatus until February 13th.


2 Responses to “Year of the Dragon”

  1. cathi green January 26, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    Hmmmm…. is this some sort of communist Chinese robo-post? I thought you were snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.

    • Jane January 31, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

      Haha, sort of. It was a post I wrote and scheduled to go up before I even left Chengdu. (We didn’t make it to the Reef this year due to weather issues. Next time!)

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