CHINESE NEW YEAR 2021
The Year of the Ox
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
We may be more familiar with the Cantonese tradition of wishing people good fortune by saying: Gong Hei Fat Choy, but in most Mandarin speaking regions you would say: Guojian Hao which means: “Wishing you well in passing over Nian.”
Nian is the name of a legendary beast who came out of hiding at the beginning of the year, forcing people into their homes as he roamed the land on Chinese New Year’s Eve feeding on crops, villagers – and children!
Chinese New Year traditions and decorations were influenced by this legend after the story tells how villagers discovered the beast was afraid of loud noise and the colour red, so red decorations, roaring lion dances and firecrackers were used to ward Nian away. As a result, Chinese people sometimes call the holiday Guo Nian meaning “passing over Nian” or “overcoming Nian”.
Children will receive gifts called Luck Money in red envelopes from older relatives on New Year’s Day. These gifts are given to ward away evil spirits and symbolise the flow of prosperity from one generation to the next.