Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

That is "Happy New Year" in Cantonese, one of the dialects of Chinese. In Mandarin Chinese (spoken in Beijing as well as Taiwan) it is pronounced "Xin nian yu kuai." This weekend was the Chinese New Year. I thought I would honor my wonderful, growing circle of Chinese friends by acknowledging that fact here.

As with the New Year here in Japan, which is now based on the Western calendar, the Chinese New Year, based on the lunar cycle, is perhaps the biggest festival event in Eastern Asia. As with the Japanese, Chinese families celebrate it by gathering their families together and having a celebration with special foods particular to the event. It is also customary to make a visit to a temple to pray for the new year.

Fireworks and the color red can also be seen all over. Interestingly, this tradition apparently originated in the belief that a supernatural creature called "nian", which could sneak into houses and eat people, was driven away by loud noises and the color red. On the eve of the New Year, the people do their utmost to send nian packing!

More info can be acquired here.

I would also invite you to have a peek at the pictures on the blogs of my Malaysian Chinese friend "Low" and my Singaporean Chinese friend "Robin".

(To Low and Robin, 恭喜發財, and I hope you don't mind me posting this!)

Correction: It has been brought to my attention by one of my Chinese friends that I've made an error. "Gong Xi Fa Cai" is, in fact, the Mandarin. In Cantonese the same greeting is "Kong Hei Fatt Choy". The Mandarin expression I gave, which was produced by a web search, does mean "Happy New Year", but it is a different greeting altogether. I apologize for the misunderstanding. I guess this just goes to show you that online search engines are no replacement for people with direct experience in the real world.


  • Imagine a quasit!

    By Anonymous Lehto, at 4:52 AM  

  • Happy CNY to you...

    By Blogger Lrong, at 8:25 AM  

  • Lrong
    Thanks for stopping by! Best wishes for the new year to you, too!

    Back! Back, I say! I still remember the spell to sick a Type VI Demon on you!

    YOU...SHALL NOT...PASS!!!!!

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 7:33 PM  

  • Thank you for your linkage!

    You are certainly welcome to link to my blog anytime.

    hmmm, If you allow me...

    Gong Xi Fa Cai is also in Mandarin, which is the written language of Chinese. In Cantonese, the same word are read as "Kong Hei Fatt Choy"

    By Blogger Robin, at 3:17 PM  

  • Robin

    Thanks for the correction. "Gong Xi Fa Cai" is what my Cantonese-speaking friends said, and my research in Mandarin produced the phrase I posted. I apologize for the error.

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 8:00 PM  

  • MM, Gong Xi Fa Cai to you.

    By Blogger Happysurfer, at 2:48 PM  

  • Thanks for the links, Moody. Most welcome!

    " replacement for people with direct experience in the real world." Nicely put. That's why you were and still are in Japan, perhaps?

    It's the whole new world out there! :)

    By Blogger @ロウ 。LOW@, at 3:43 PM  

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