Kung hei fat choi! (that’s the Cantonese greeting said at Chinese New Year – I think it literally means ‘wishing you prosperity’) Welcome to the year of the goat… or sheep… there’s some debate about which it is since the Chinese word is the same or very similar for either. From the majority of the images and displays around Hong Kong, I would say that most people think it’s a sheep!
Here is our Chinese sheep that Tom bought me. I think he’s quite cute :)
Below is another Chinese decoration that Tom bought. It’s a bit random! Citrus fruits, particularly small oranges or tangarines, are very popular at this time of year. I think the fruit is considered to be very auspicious. Many people have small orange plants in their homes at this time, but instead we have the soft toy version!
We don’t really do anything to celebrate Chinese New Year ourselves but all around us it’s a busy time. It seems to be similar to Christmas in the UK in the way that everyone goes to spend time with their families, but unlike the UK, many things are still open over this period so you can still go shopping or to restaurants and attractions (in the UK, pretty much nothing is open on Christmas day apart from restaurants serving Christmas dinner!). So for us it’s a nice few days off work and a time to see friends.
This year we have ventured into the world of red packets (or ‘lai see’) for the first time. The tradition is to give packets containing money to the people who serve you, and to those younger than you. We now live in a building with doormen and have a cleaner so we have bought some red packets and are in the process of handing them out to people. We haven’t put a huge amount of money in each one, I think it’s really hard to know how much to give but I hope we’ve got it about right! You’re also supposed to use new bank notes but by the time I went to the bank earlier this week, they didn’t have any new notes left in the denominations I needed, so I have some that are ‘not too used’ instead! Again, I really hope that’s ok! (but I’m sure no-one is actually going to turn down free money…)
We also couldn’t resist buying Jack and Isobel some cute Chinese New Year outfits. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to get a good photo of them at the moment because they’re more interested in the camera you’re holding than having their photo taken! But we managed to get this shot, which isn’t too bad….
Do you celebrate Chinese New Year? I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to!
Thanks for reading!