#36alive 28: Celebrate Chinese New Year | The Year of The Fire Rooster (+ the real way to say “Happy New Year”)


firerooster12017 marks the year of the Rooster, specifically, the ‘Fire Rooster’, and the last time this particular type of fire rooster ruled was in 1957.

The Chinese zodiac is represented by animals linked to the elements, and as we move from the year of the monkey, the fire rooster holds the qualities of being “trustworthy, with a strong sense of timekeeping and responsibility.” 

Commonly referred to as the Lunar New Year, the celebration always falls on the new moon between January 21st and February 20th each year. This is a time for clearing and cleaning houses, gathering together with family and friends, and feasting on festive meals.

Lion dances, firecrackers, and the colour red – traditionally used to scare away the Nian (a mythical beast said to attack villagers on New Years Day) – are all an important part of the celebrations.

Roosters are said to be observant, hardworking, resourceful, courageous, and talented, which we may all need a little of in order to make it through the year successfully!


“Happy New Year”

You may have heard the phrase Gong Hei Fat Choy spoken at this time of year, however although this is a saying appropriate for the New Year – as a way of bestowing good luck to loved ones, and wishing prosperity for them, it doesn’t actually translate as ‘happy new year’.

Happy Chinese New Year is read as “xin nian” (new year) and “kuai le” (happy) in Mandarin, (pronounced “shin nee-an kwai le”) and would be a great way to wish strangers or acquaintances a happy new year. The more familiar version is “xin nian” (new year) and “hao” (good), which is pronounced “shin nee-an how” and is what you’d use when wishing family and friends a Happy Chinese New Year.

Whichever phrase you choose, celebrate the Chinese New Year, new moon, and new beginnings by wishing others peace and prosperity, and a Xin Nian Kuai Le.


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