Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Xin Nien Kuai Le!

Happy New Year! Tomorrow marks the first day of the largest fifteen day celebration in China.... the year of the Rat.

You are a rat, if you were born in:
1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996

People born in the Year of the Rat are noted for their charm and attraction for the opposite sex. They work hard to achieve their goals, acquire possessions, and are likely to be perfectionists. They are basically thrifty with money. Rat people are easily angered and love to gossip. Their ambitions are big, and they are usually very successful. They are most compatible with people born in the years of the Dragon, Monkey, and Ox.

The Chinese begin preparations for the new year during the last few days of the last lunar month. Debts are paid, hair is cut, and new clothes are purchased. Homes are thoroughly cleaned to sweep away any ill fortune and to make way for the incoming good luck. Doors and windows are decorated with paper cut-outs with the themes of happiness, wealth and longevity. Incense is turned in homes and temples to pay respect to ancestors and ask the good for good health in the coming year.

On new Year’s Eve, families come together to feast. Popular in Northern China is jiaozi, a steamed dumpling, while in Souther China nian gao, a sweet rice pudding, is preferred. Family members engage in playing cards and board games or watching television programs dedicated to the occasion. At midnight, celebrants ring in the new year with fireworks, intended to drive away evil spirits. Lights are to be kept on throughout the night.

On the first morning of the new year, children greet their parents and receive lay see, lucky money tucked in red envelopes. Then the family goes door to door with good wishes for relatives and neighbors. Old grudges are easily dismissed during this time of reconciliation and goodwill, and gifts are exchanged during visits over the next several days. The festival is marked by peace. socializing, folk dancing, and fun. (information from:

Among following some of the traditions, including cleaning the house, eating yummy food and of course...lucky red envelopes, we will continue the celebration this weekend with an opportunity to see a children's dance and martial arts troupe from Guangzhou, P.R. of China...we can't wait!


Leslie said...

Happy Chinese New Year to you and your family.

I love your new look. My favorite so far.

Sat will be lots of fun.

sara said...

Your blog looks so good!! I love it when you post:) Leah's outfit is darling!! Happy New Year! Maybe this will be the year of Kate!!

Sheri said...

Happy Chinese New Year to your family! Your new blog design is gorgeous and very appropriate right now. Leah looks so cute in her outfit.

Kate said...

Happy New Year! Leah looks beautiful in red...such sweet pictures!


Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures! Did you get the outfit in China, or somewhere at home? Shea's almost outgrown all the ones we got in China, so I'll need to find a U.S. source!

Hope you guys have a great celebration!


Jake and Taryn said...

I love your new blog always and I LOVE all the new pictures of Leah, especially the one of her with the umbrella! She just gets cuter and cuter!! Happy Chinese New Year!! :)