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Pattaya Daily News

02 February 2010 :: 10:02:37 am 11838

Chinese New Year: The Year of the Tiger

Chinese New Year is also known as the Lunar Year or Spring Festival and is the most important of the Chinese holidays. It consists of a period of celebrations which start on New Years Day and ends with the Lantern Festival, the fifteenth day of the month.
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The Lunar New Year Festival can be traced back thousands of years and involves a series of colourful legends and traditions One of the famous legends is Nian, a cruel and ferocious beast that the ancient Chinese believed would devour people on New year’s Eve so red paper couplets are pasted on doors, torches are lit and firecrackers are set off throughout the night, because it is said that Nian feared the colour red, the light of a fire and loud noises. Next morning, feelings of triumph and renewal are felt as Nian is kept away for another year and greetings of “Gong xi fa cai” or “congratulations” are heard all around.


Even though the Lunar New Year celebrations generally last several days starting on New Year’s Eve, the festival is actually about three weeks long. The Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon of the New Year and ends on the full moon fifteen days later. The fifteenth day of the new moon is known as the Lantern Festival which is celebrated at night with displays and a parade of lanterns carried by children.

Ten days before the start of Chinese New Year an annual clean of the house is made or the ‘sweeping of the grounds’ where by every corner of the house must be swept clean in preparation for the New Year a bit like our spring clean. Spring Couplets, written in black in on large vertical scrolls of red paper are put out on the walls or on both sides of the gateways. These couplets are short poems written in Classical Chinese expressing good wishes for the family in the coming year. In addition to this symbolic flowers and fruits are used to decorate the house including colourful New Year pictures.

A reunion dinner is held on New Year’s Eve for family members near and far to get together for a celebration. The dinner is very large and traditionally includes chicken. Fish is also included, but some is always kept back and stored overnight as the Chinese say “every year there is fish left over” which could mean “be blessed every year” or “have profit every year.

The New Year’s Eve celebration is traditionally highlighted with a religious ceremony given in honour of Heaven and Earth, the gods of the household and family ancestors.

New Year’s Day is also celebrated within the family, gathering in the morning with the giving of red packets to the unmarried members of the family. The age of the recipient is immaterial. The red packets, traditionally consists of amounts which are considered multiples. For example, $2 would be given as two $1, or $20 given as 2 $10. The gift was originally a token amount, but these days it is not uncommon to receive large sums especially in affluent families.

The second day of the New Year is for visiting the family of the wife if a couple was married again with a large feast. The seventh day is known as common man’s birthday, the day when everyone grows one year older and tossed fish salad is eaten. People take it in turns to toss the colourful salad making wishes for continued wealth and prosperity. This tradition is only celebrated amongst the Chinese in Southeast Asia such as Singapore and Malaysia.

The New Year ends on the fifteenth of the first moon with the Lantern Festival. On this evening people carry lanterns through the streets and young men would highlight the parade with a dragon dance. The dragon being made from bamboo, silk and paper and may stretch more than a hundred feet in length. The bobbing and weaving of the dragon is an impressive sight and a fitting end to the celebrations.

Year of the Tiger:

Tigers are fond of competitions. They simply cannot pass up a challenge. They may appear cool and are unpredictable, and it would be unwise to underestimate their reactions. Natural leaders, they have a strong sense of their own dignity. They are intelligent, alert, and farsighted. Good strategists and tacticians, they often have a hidden agenda. As long as they do not risk their luck too often, keep their restless nature under control, they will enjoy success and happiness.

People born in the Year of the Tiger are straightforward and uninhibited in nature. They will never give up no matter how frustrated they may become, but they are also full of suspicion and may sometimes make hasty decisions.

They must be aware of how they react to and are affected by the consequences of their tempers. They should take it easy and learn to pace themselves to keep active longer and to prevent early burnout. They are blessed with flexibility and often recover quickly from illness or pain.

Some people born in the Year of the Tiger are gentle and full of sympathy. They are kind, love babies. Others can be stubborn and selfish. Generally speaking, people born in the Year of the Tiger are fond of playing, and full of enthusiasm and sentiment. Some are mercurial. They can laugh happily one moment, and cry the next. They are be optimistic, but can lose heart in a second.

People born in the Year of the Tiger take pride in being different to others, and generally illustrate their originality best in their homes. Their homes are usually filled with exotic treasures. They are fast learners, need challenge and often work alone. Some tend to change careers more often because they get bored easily. They are natural born leaders and perform best if working towards positions of power and influence. They like to spend money, and also to share it. They can be quite impulsive spenders because they know they can always make more.

It is interesting that their two main features are rashness and hesitation, a pair of contradictions. If they know how to relax and do things according to the situation, they can become quite successful.

Patty Brown

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Year of the Tiger 2010 | Pacific Asian Advisory Council (PAAC)

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