Sue’s introduction and origami activity
Welcome to this HKAN Lunar New Year celebration.
sun nin faai lok – Happy New Year – Cantonese
shin nee-an kwai le (as in the French le) – Mandarin
Literally translated as New year happy or you can say shin nee-an how New year good!
A few facts about the New Year
- Lunar New Year
- Spring Festival
- Cinese New Year
These are often used interchangeably – Are they the same or different?
Lunar New Year is a more general term and encompasses all celebrations that mark a new year according to a lunar calendar.
Lunar New Year is celebrated in many Asian countries, including China, Vietnam, the Koreas, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia & the Philippines. Though some traditions are shared, others are unique to each country’s cultural identity.
In China, Lunar New Year is referred to as the ‘Spring Festival’, or ‘Chinese New Year’. In the UK we tend to use Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year.
Chinese New Year is well-known for starting a new sign in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese animal-zodiac.
The rabbit is the 4th sign of the Chinese zodiac, So why 4th ?
The most widespread Chinese zodiac legend is The Heavenly Gate Race Story.
The Jade Emperor (The Emperor in Heaven in Chinese folklore) wanted 12 animals to be his guards. The selection and ranking would be given according to the order they went through the Heavenly Gate.
1st Early Risers – Quick witted Rat and Diligent Ox
On the day of the race the rat got up very early, but on his way to the gate encountered a river. He had to stop there, owing to the swift current, After waiting a long time Rat noticed Ox about to cross the river and swiftly jumped onto his back. Ox didn’t mind and simply continued. After crossing the river, he raced towards the palace of the Jade Emperor. Suddenly, Rat jumped off his back and dashed to the feet of the Emperor. Rat one first place and Ox was second.
Competitive and Fast: Tiger and Rabbit
Tiger and Rabbit came third and fourth because both are fast and competitive, but Tiger was faster. (Rabbit got across the river by hopping on stepping stones and a floating log)
Thereafter, the other animals arrived at the gate according to characteristics assigned to them in the legend.
[Good-looking Dragon and Crafty Snake
Good-looking Dragon was fifth and was immediately noticed by the Jade Emperor, who said Dragon’s son could be sixth. But Dragon’s son didn’t come with him that day. Just then, Snake came forward and said Dragon was his adoptive father; so Snake ranked sixth.
Kind and Modest Horse and Goat
Horse and Goat arrived. They were very kind and modest and each let the other go first. The Jade Emperor saw how polite they wereand ranked them seventh and eighth.
Monkey had fallen well behind. But he jumped between trees and stones, and caught up to be ninth. Last were Rooster, Dog, and Pig. These 12 animals became guards of the Heavenly Gate].
The Year of the Rabbit includes 2023, 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927…
It starts from January 22nd, 2023 (Chinese New Year), and ends on February 9th, 2024 (Chinese New Year’s Eve).
The Year of the Rabbit / hare. The Chinese character is for “hare”
The sign of Rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity in Chinese culture.
2023 is predicted to be a year of hope.
Each zodiac sign is also associated with one of five elements: Gold (Metal), Wood, Water, Fire, or Earth.
This means each comes along once in a 60-year cycle.
2023 is a year of the Water Rabbit Only those born in 1963 and 2011 are Water Rabbits.
Last thing to mention is that this year Vietnam celebrates the Year of the Cat
There are several theories explaining this – the most common is that at some point in history the Chinese word for rabbit, “mao” was misinterpreted as “meo”, the Vietnamese word for cat.
Another explanation stems from the Chinese versions of the legend about the race that determined the order of the zodiac animals. In the Chinese version, both the rat and the cat were on the ox, and the cat was pushed into the water by the rat, leading to its loss. Meanwhile the rabbit had been hopping on stones, then landed on a floating log that quickly bought it to the shore to give it 4th place.