In 2018, Chinese New Year falls on Friday 16th February. Steeped in centuries of ritual and tradition, and now famed for its magnificent celebrations, it’s an annual source of delight to revellers around the world.
As long-time fans of Chinese culture (particularly Food & Drink Experiences!), Red Letter Days never fails to make a fuss of this special occasion. Here’s a glimpse of our office celebrations last year:
— RedLetterDaysAM (@RedLetterDaysAM) January 27, 2017
2018 is the Chinese Year of the Dog
2017 was the year of the Rooster; in 2018 it’s time for man’s best friend to take centre stage. Specifically, this is the year of the Earth Dog, as the Chinese zodiac is concerned with a rotating order of animals and elements. There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, so every 12th year it will be the year of the Dog, but the element will change. In 2030, for example, it will be the Metal Dog.
If you were born on or after the Chinese New Year on any of those years, you’re a Dog. (The new year starts on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month according to the Chinese calendar.) Strong proponents of ritual, symbol and luck, the Chinese believe that the year in which you were born signifies volumes about your character, your destiny and which things are lucky or unlucky for you.
Chinese New Year is celebrated with huge pizazz all over the world. Here in London, each year sees a vibrant parade spilling across Chinatown, Trafalgar Square and the surrounding areas. The capital goes all out, with performances, dragon dancers and traditional food on offer. 700,000 people are expected to attend the festivities each year, making it the biggest Chinese New Year event outside of Asia; it’s a sight to behold! In Asia, it’s typical for celebrations to continue for about a fortnight.
But how do you wish your fellow reveller Happy New Year appropriately? Good question. “Xin Nian Kuai Le” is the phrase you’re looking for in Mandarin. It’s “San Nin Faai Lok” in Cantonese.
Xīn Nián Kuài Lè!
Happy New Year!
From everybody at Red Letter days HQ, have a wonderful new year. Love and luck to you, especially if you’re a Dog.
Curious about past years? Wander over to our blog post on Chinese New Year of the Sheep/Goat and find out more about China’s colourful tradition.
Images courtesy of Patrick Carr