2016 is the Year of the Red Monkey
Read more HERE
If you literally translate “Gong Xi Fa Chai”, it means “wishing you enlarge your wealth.” “Gong Xi” means wishing/blessing . “Fa” means to enlarge, and”Chai” ( or Choi ) means wealth. So a literal translation is that you wish that the person you are bestowing Gong Xi Fa Chai upon, will become very rich
However the phrase is generally used as Happy New Year.
Ang Pow red envelopes are traditionally given by adults to children at Chinese New Year, which is also a time for happy family re-unions and much feasting and merriment.
Ang Pow also known as “red packets”,” “laisee”, “lai see”, “hung bao” or “hong-bao” are considered extremely auspicious to receive as a gift and even more auspicious if they contain money.
They are commonly used for Chinese New Year, weddings, birthdays or any other important event. The illustrations used on the front of ang pow packets or envelopes bestow blessings and good wishes of longevity, prosperity and great health. The character for “luck” – in pinyin Chinese pronounced as the word “fu” – is often on the front of the red packets.
The story of ang pow dates back to the Sung Dynasty in China. A village called Chang-Chieu was at the time terrorised by a huge dragon-like demon. No one dared to defeat it, not even warriors or statesmen.
However, a young orphan, armed with a super sabre inherited from his ancestors, fought the evil dragon and eventually destroyed it. The villagers were overjoyed and the elders presented the brave young lad an ang pow filled with money for his courage in saving them.
Since then, the ang pow has become a part of traditional Chinese customs.
Some say that the money contained in an Ang Pow should traditionally be a single note, not multiple notes and never contain coins. Amounts given in the ang pow may take advantage of the Chinese homophones ( words that are pronounced the same as another words but differs in meaning ). For instance, you can give a favourable amount ending with eight ( ba ), as it sounds like fortune in Chinese, or nine ( jiu ), which sounds like longevity.
The Chinese New Year begins each year on the second new moon after the winter solstice ( which is on 22 December in the Northern Hemisphere). The Chinese use a lunar calendar as opposed to our own Gregorian calendar. The Chinese New Year is also called the Lunar New Year. The exact new moon time on 31 January 2014 in China’s time zone is at 05:39 a.m.
Celebrated internationally in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered to be a major holiday for the Chinese as well as ethnic groups such as the Mongolians, Koreans, the Miao (Chinese Hmong) and the Vietnamese, who were influenced by Chinese culture in terms of religious and philosophical worldview, language and culture in general.
Festivities to celebrate the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival as it is also known last fifteen days. The first week is the most important and is most often celebrated with visits to friends and family as well as with greetings of good luck. The celebrations end on the important and colorful Lantern Festival on the evening of the 15th day of the lunar month.
The 15 day Chinese New Year season is celebrated with public holidays in China from January 31 to February 6 in 2014, and with merriment and a lot of good eating.
You can see wonderful examples of the fine eating that Chinese people engage in during the Chinese New Year Festivities on Pinterest.
To read about the Chinese Zodiac Animals and the Year of the Wood Horse in 2014, please go to my other Blog, Fascinating Animals. My post there dated 31 January 2014 has a giveaway in which you can win a beautiful sheetlet of Chinese Zodiac Animal stamps!
I find Chinese characters beautiful and there is certain way in which one should write them.
This great page HERE will show YOU how to write the above Chinese character for “Good Luck”.