Gong Hey Fat Choi! - This phrase literally means “Congratulations and be prosperous” in Cantonese pronunciation. Chinese New Year for 2018 will be on Feb 16th and is the year of the Earth Dog. Dogs are the symbol of honesty and loyalty and people born in the year of the Dog are said to be friendly, faithful, loyal, smart, straightforward, and have a strong sense of responsibility.
1) It changes every year – The year is based on the lunar calendar but you can expect New Year's Day to be sometime between January 21 and February 20. In 2019, Chinese New Year will be on February 5th.
2) In Chinese it’s called the Spring Festival – but wait, it’s still winter?! Based on the traditional solar calendar the coldest day of the year will have passed and this is a way to welcome the arrival of spring.
3) Each year starts with a zodiac animal and an element (earth, water, fire, metal and wood). The astrology zodiac is based on months but Chinese zodiac is based on a year. There are 12 zodiac animals in total. The dog is the 11th animal or sign
4) It’s celebrated by many Asian cultures and countries – it’s actually more accurate to call it Lunar New Year since it’s also celebrated in the Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia and many more places!
5) You can guess how old someone is if you know their zodiac year and the order of the animals. If you meet someone who is the same zodiac as you, they are either the same age as you or multiples of 12 since that same sign only comes back every 12 years. J
6) The 7th day of the New Year is called Human Day – it’s believed to be the birthday of the everyday person like you or me. Does that mean extra gifts? If so, YEAH! Does that mean I also age quicker? NOOOOOOOOOOOO! (It’s all symbolism truly)
7) Cleaning the home and doing laundry is considered taboo during the first four days of the New Year – These tasks are believed to be removing good fortune from your home so kick up your feet and relax. You have a good excuse to just rest and let things be.
8) Washing your hair specifically is also considered a no-no – the word for hair in Chinese is “fat” which a homonym for prosperity is. You wouldn’t want to wash your fortune down the drain right? I’m sure the kids would also use it as an excuse to get out of bath-time and have more of playtime.
9) Wearing new clothing on New Year’s Day is important – you want to start the New Year all shiny and new. Shopping anyone?
10) The celebrations end after 15 days with a lantern festival – not to be confused with the mid-autumn festival which also involves lanterns.
Gong Hey Fat Choi!