Tag Archives: Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year celebration…

In the past weeks I read so many blog posts about the Chinese New Year and how the people will celebrate it and whatnot all. Here in Germany in my little hometown it is a bit different. Sure we would love to celebrate New Year but first of all we only hoped this time not to get sick again as all the past year. We had so bad luck each January/ February with our health that we already prepared all the medication for a week with high fever in bed. But some wonder happened and we stayed healthy! That was indeed already something new for us and actually all we hoped for.

Eating some fruits, drinking tea, Chinese New Year Gala and a dog harassing us

Back in Finland we had this big New Year celebration in Helsinki city center but here in my hometown? Not so much. Even though there are pretty many Chinese living here (we know perhaps 5% of them) there is never any event taking place. Of course they always plan to celebrate with some nice food and invite many friends over but that never happens. Thing is this is still Germany and there are no holidays over the Lunar New Year so people are just too busy to actually celebrate on a working day. We had “holidays” ourselves as we are exporting to China and we just have no customers at all for an entire week due to the holidays over there.

So what can you do when there is authentic Chinese restaurant anywhere nearby and the supermarkets have only limited amount of ingredients for making some nice Chinese dishes? You do nothing but stay home, eat snacks, have video chats with the family in China all the while the Chinese New Year Gala is blaring from the TV.  I must say it was a rather uneventful day for us and my wife was a bit down as all chat groups were filled with pictures and videos of the food in China while she was stuck with some grapes and chips.

No that was not our food this year as we couldn’t get any useful ingredients

But it all ain’t bad as this uneventful day and the entire weeks gave us time for other things. My wife finally started studying for her driving license again after starting it back in 2017! I also had time to do some video editing and finished our holiday “movie” from 2015 and started now the editing process for 2016 in which we had the crazy city tour in China.

How did you celebrate the Chinese New Year?

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Our Chinese New Year 2016

I know I know I am a week late with this post but I didn’t manage to finish it until now due to all kind of silly reasons. In the whole past week I could read from so many bloggers how they celebrated New Year so here I go with our tiny “party”.

This was the first time since 2013 that we actually celebrated again as we had just no time for the past years. Even before that we usually never did anything special so we always ended up watching the CCTV New Year Gala. Only once we participated in some bigger event and it was just a few weeks after we got together in 2010. Back then we went to the Chinese New Year Festivities in Helsinki. Let me just tell you that it was very very cold back then and not the most enjoyable experience I had in my life (due to the weather!). A couple of years ago I even wrote a little blog post about it which also shows that not much (nothing) has really changed on how we spend New Year.

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A bit of food for watching the New Year Gala

 

So what happened this year? First of all we kind of messed up the actual date for the New Year. My wife and all her Chinese friends CNY9here in town thought it would be on Saturday the 06.02.2016. Imagine the surprise when my wife heard from one of her customers on that Saturday that there won’t be any New Year Gala as it wouldn’t start until Sunday… this shows pretty well what living abroad for so many years does to someone when it comes to such big festivities. Anyways after a disappointing Saturday we started Sunday with preparing for the overeating day. My wife prepared several dishes while I was busy entertaining our little Monkey/ Nathan. Pictures were taken,  food was enjoyed, the CCTV New Year Gala was watched and many video chats had to be endured during that day. As you can see it was a pretty calm day for us especially as my wife didn’t had to work and thus we spend the entire day together. Besides that Nathan was finally able to wear some of the clothes my wife bought for him in China last year. Only bad thing about the dress was that the hat didn’t fit anymore, Nathan just got too much brain inside.

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Calling his grandparents to save him from the New Year Gala in TV

For the next year I hope that we will be either able to travel to China for this event as I would love to witness it once in my life personally or to celebrate with other people together. Sure it is nice to spend the whole day together as a family but to have some bigger gatherings once every few years wouldn’t hurt either.

Where there some Lunar New Year events near your home?

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Guest Post: Mandarin Phrases and Tradition for Chinese New Year

Today it is time for the first Guest Post of the year on this blog. As there is so much talk all over the other blogs about one certain topic we shall join the party and thus this Guest Post will be all about the Chinese New Year!

Of all Chinese holidays, Chinese New Year, sometimes referred to as the Spring Festival, is the most important.  It is a celebration of prosperity, tradition, family, and good will.  If you want to learn Mandarin, the following phrases are a good start.

Mandarin Chinese_1

 

(1)恭喜发财/恭喜發財(gong xi fa cai) “bless happiness, and prosperity”

This wish for prosperity is typically only used during Chinese New Year.  The greeting is offered before gifts or lucky money is given by the host.

(2) 新年快乐/新年快樂(xin nian kuai le“Happy New Year”

This is the same generic greeting that is used during New Years in the West.  It can be used as a greeting, a parting phrase, or both.

(3) 学业进步/學業進步(xue ye jin bu)- “”Progress in Studies”

This greeting is offered to students of all ages to wish them well with their studies.

(4) 生意兴隆/生意興隆(sheng yi xing long-“Prosperous Business”

This greeting is offered to business owners for prosperous business in the year to come.  It is typically reserved for business owners that you know personally.

(5) 龙马精神/龍馬精神(long ma jing shen)-“Spirit of Dragon and Horse” This greeting is used to wish an elderly person the energy of a horse and the longevity of a dragon.

(6) 万事如意/萬事如意(wan shi ru yi-“10,000 Things According to Will”     

This greeting is a wish that the year to come will go according to the desires and plans of the recipient.

(7) 心想事成(xin xiang shi cheng)”Accomplish That In Your Heart”

This greeting is a wish that the person will achieve anything they want.

 

Chinese New Year Traditions

There are a variety of traditions observed during the Chinese New Year.  These vary by location, though there are a few traditions that are nearly universally observed among Chinese people the world over.

Mandarin Chinese_2

 

Spring cleaning – Before the holiday, people thoroughly clean their homes and change their ritual decorations.  Red paper bearing 4 character auspicious sayings are hung in pairs surrounding the doorway.

Dinner – The night before the holiday calls for the extended family to sit down together for a large meal.  Traditionally, the meal is hosted at the home of the family’s oldest living patriarch.  This is such an important meal that some Chinese will travel long distances.

Visiting – Many Chinese people spend the New Year holiday visiting relatives and close friends.  Gifts are typically exchanged and lucky money may be given in small red envelopes.  Parents give the envelopes to unmarried children, and in some regions, lucky money may be given to extended family or unmarried friends.  Children or others who may receive lucky money will greet the host with gong xi fa cai (bless happiness, and prosperity) while clasping their hands and moving them vertically.

Remember different areas have their own special New Year stories and legends. Wish you have a happy Spring Festival. For more Chinese learning tips, you are welcome to visit our blog Learn Mandarin Now.

 

How will you spend this New Year?

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