Gifting red envelopes (红包 hóngbāo) stuffed with cash to family and friends is one of the most ancient customs of the Spring Festival. But with the invention of social media, the long-standing tradition developed a new face — a digital one.
The longer you live in China, the more you grow to appreciate its culture, especially the festivals. There’s awesome food and lively performances but most importantly, very long holidays. 春节 Chūnjié is no different. With 5 years on the mainland, I celebrated quite a few, each better and more authentic than the other. And even though I have returned to the western side of the globe, at this time of year, my heartstrings always tug eastward. Reminisce with me a bit.
Chinese New Year is widely considered to be the most important holiday in China. Known in Mandarin as Chūnjié｜春节 or Guònián｜过年, it is a period symbolized by family reunion (tuánjù|团聚), and represented by various customs that Chinese people across the world take part in over a span of several weeks leading up to and following the start of the new year. This month, as we get ready to say goodbye to the Monkey and welcome in the Fire Rooster, remember, just as so many people around the world celebrate Christmas regardless of culture and ethnicity, you don’t have to be Chinese or living in China to celebrate Chinese New Year. This special holiday is really about family, a fresh start, and good wishes for you and your loved ones. True to the essence of Chinese New Year, here are 6 simple things you can do this year to join in on the festivities and bring happiness to those around you, wherever you may be in the world.
Have you ever experienced New Year’s in China?Would you believe that there are no fireworks, loud cheers or even a modicum of excitement? Ok, I’m exaggerating but it’s not exactly the celebratory event we are used to in the west.
It may be a bit late, but 祝大家新年快乐 Zhù dàjiā xīnnián kuàilè! Happy New Year’s, everyone! 2017 is going to be awesome!
The 圣诞 shèngdàn in 圣诞节 shèngdànjié (Christmas) sounds like 剩蛋 shèng dàn (leftover eggs). Here we have a commonly used Chinese pun for Christmas: 剩蛋节 shèngdànjié (Leftover Eggs Festival). Homophones — words that sound the same but have different meanings — often create unanticipated laugh-out-loud situations in Chinese. They have scintillated hip-hop heads for decades, yet the technical term may have remained overlooked. Here are two examples from pun-lover Jay-Z: