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Marie in Hong Kong

Marie in Hong Kong

Discovery of Hong Kong


Beginner's Guide to CNY

Publié par Marie sur 18 Février 2013, 19:54pm

Catégories : #Cultural Differences

Below is an article found in the "Hong Kong Where" magazine in February 2013.

 

"Seven things you need to know


1. Lai See

These decorated gold and red envelopes are everywhere during the Lunar New Year. Married people or elders put crisp new bank notes inside the packets and give them to children and/or single folks. Sometimes bosses even give them to their employees. The red in the packaging is meant to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck to both the giver and the receiver.

 

2. "Gung Hei Fat Choy"

This traditional Chinese greeting translates to "Have a prosperous and fortunate year!" The passing of the winter solstice and the start of spring are very symbolic in Chinese culture, as they mark the end of last year's bad luck and signify a new beginning filled with hope. The saying is often used when saying hello or goodbye during the hoiday.

 

3. Lucky foods

Several delicacies are traditionnally added to the CNY menu as they symbolize various lucky terms. Black moss, or "fat choi", sounds like "prosperity" in Cantonese, while dried oysters (hao shi) is similar-sounding to "good business". Steamed sticke cake is phonetically close to "higher year" and represents taking goals to new heights, while the sweet glutinous rice balls (tong yuen) sound like "reunion".

 

4. Lion Dance

The leader wears a massive, ornate lion's head, while another person, who trails behind, undulates under the tail. These performers, who often come from Chinese martial arts schools, used to go around pretending to scavenge for auspicious fruits and veggies (orange and lettuce) as well as lai see, or envelopes full of money. These days, though, they mostly just dance around in celebration. The ritual is beleived to bring in fortune and lucj to those who request it; it is often performed at public festivals in certain Hong Kong neighborhoods and even in some office buildings.

 

5. Mandarin Oranges

Mandarin oranges and kumquats are eaten and given as gifts throughout CNY because they symbolize wealth and luck - that's why you'll see little trees or bushes dotted with kumquats being sold all over the place.

 

6. Firecrackers

Setting off fireworks symbolizes the joy of this time of year. Sparklers, with their beaming lights and explosive sounds, are also believed to startle evil spirits. Though illegal in Hong Kong, many wall and door decorations are still shaped in their honor.

 

7. The Snake

The snake is the sixth sign among the 12 in the Chinese zodiac. People born in the Year of the Cnake (1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001) are said to be intuitive, introspective and enigmatic. According to the Chinese wisdom, having a Snake in the house means that the family will never starve, as Snakes areknown to be resourceful and intelligent. The Year of the Snake is said to be a good time to focus your attention on business details and take things to a new level."

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