Gong Xi Fa Chai
I got an SMS from my Chinese friend for the Lunar New Year celebration this weekend at his place. My, time really fly so fast. It was only last year he did the same to me, I mean, inviting me for the celebration. My in-laws will also be busy with the festivity starting tomorrow evening with the big family dinner.
I love Chinese food. I love shark’s fin soup but have to stop loving it because of animal rights. Anyway, not wanting to spoil the air, I like Yee Sang and Dim Sum too. Using the chop sticks to eat has never been a problem to me as I have mastered it during my childhood.
My neighbours were Chinese, a fourth generation originally from China they claimed. In fact, they rented the building which belong to my family as a shop house. They ran a grocery store and lived on the first floor. Two or three houses away were Chinese too, whom we called the Shanghai family because they came from Shanghai. They sold timber and yes, I grew up with timber dusts in my lungs.
So I grew up with the Chinese and I think, children in our village got mixed up with who influenced whom for there were other races too – Indians, Dusun and of course Malays.
I learned a lot of Chinese way of life since I was small. I think when you are small, you would just consume anything and everything, good or bad. So my Chinese neighbour taught me how to use the chop sticks and in return I taught them how to use the Malay version, the chandas for that mouth-watery Ambuyat.
I also love the lion dance, its just strange that the Malay word is ‘Tarian Naga’ so the English should be dragon dance and not lion. Anyway, when I was small, my Chinese neighbours would invited the lion dance troupe to their houses year in, year out. At first I was scared because of the loud music, tong tong tong tong! But as I grew up I began to like and even appreciate the culture. I surely did miss it when it was banned for many years from the streets.
The beginnings of the Chinese calendar can be traced back to the 14th century B.C.E. Legend has it that the Emperor Huangdi invented the calendar in 2637 B.C.E.
The Chinese calendar is based on exact astronomical observations of the longitude of the sun and the phases of the moon. This means that principles of modern science have had an impact on the Chinese calendar.
The Chinese calendar does not use a continuous year count! They used a 60 year cycle and a system of regional years (starting with each emperor). Before the 1911 revolution, Sun Yat-sen wanted to establish a republican alternative to the imperial reign cycles. According to Chinese tradition, the first year of the Yellow Emperor was 2698 B.C.E., so he introduced a counting system based on this. Under this system, 2000 is year 4698. An alternative system is to start with the first historical record of the 60-day cycle from March 8, 2637 B.C.E. Based on this system, 2000 is year 4637.
The following are the Chinese New Year dates:
|4693||Boar||January 31, 1995|
|4694||Rat||February 19, 1996|
|4695||Ox||February 7, 1997|
|4696||Tiger||January 28, 1998|
|4697||Hare/Rabbit||February 16, 1999|
|4698||Dragon||February 5, 2000|
|4699||Snake||January 24, 2001|
|4700||Horse||February 12, 2002|
|4701||Ram/Sheep||February 1, 2003|
|4702||Monkey||January 22, 2004|
|4703||Rooster||February 9, 2005|
|4704||Dog||January 29, 2006|
|4705||Boar||February 18, 2007|
|4706||Rat||February 7, 2008|
|4707||Ox||January 26, 2009|
|4708||Tiger||February 10, 2010|
|4709||Hare/Rabbit||February 3, 2011|
|4710||Dragon||January 23, 2012|
|4711||Snake||February 10, 2013|
|4712||Horse||January 31, 2014|
|4713||Ram/Sheep||February 19, 2015|
|4714||Monkey||February 9, 2016|
|4715||Rooster||January 28, 2017|
|4716||Dog||February 16, 2018|
|4717||Boar||February 5, 2019|
|4718||Rat||January 25, 2020|
This link gives you more info on the Chinese New Year Calendar.