Tag Archives: Chinese New Year

Year of the Horse

31 Jan


Today marks the beginning of the new Chinese lunar year. Goodbye water snake, hello wooden horse! Supposedly, this year is going to be one of conflict, when people stick to their resolutions and principles and refuse to negotiate. But never fear, you’re in for a good year if you work in any “wood” related industries, like lumber, agriculture, and media companies.

Happy Year of the Snake!

11 Feb

year of the snakePhoto by Susan Wang

Yesterday marked the start of a new lunar year, and my favorite Chinese holiday. For those of you who don’t know, the Spring Festival is the biggest and best in the Chinese holiday calendar. Think of Thanksgiving, Christmas, the Forth of July, and your birthday rolled up into two weeks of vacation. Everyone travels back to their hometown for the festivities, making this the world’s largest annual human migration. Traditionally, you set off massive amounts of fireworks, eat all sorts of delicious foods like dumplings and fish, exchange red envelopes (with money inside!) to younger relatives, and wear red clothes for good luck.

This year is the year of the snake, the sixth animal in the Chinese zodiac. It’s a good year for people born in 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, and 1965. (Basically, if your age can be divided cleanly by 12, it’s your year to shine.) I’m a Snake, so that means I’m in for a stellar year. Supposedly, this is the year of steady progress and attention to detail.

Wishing you all a very prosperous Chinese New Year: Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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.