Happy New Year 2019 新年快乐


My warmest good wishes for The Year of the Pig to all those who read my blog, may you have peace, prosperity and good health for the coming months.

Spring Festival 春季  Chun jie is a very special time in Chinese life. It is the time when everyone heads back to their family home to spend time with parents, grandparents and all the kith and kin. The days before the New Year sees the biggest migrations of humans anywhere in the world,  chunyun (春运) as this massive movement of people is called is quite mind-boggling for most westerners as hundreds of millions descend on airports and railway stations or take to the roads. Loaded with gifts and carrying  Hong Bao 红包 (decorative red envelopes containing money to give to family and friends),chinese-red-envelope1.jpg they cram into every square centimeter of the trains and ferries, and the queues at airports have to be seen to be believed.


China has two long public holiday times – Spring Festival aka New Year, and Golden Week which is at the beginning of October. They have 7 days leave each time (plus weekend time). Whilst Golden Week is a fixed time each year, Chinese New Year fluctuates according to the lunar calendar. This year the date is February 5th.

As I may have explained before, the Chinese zodiac is counted in a 12 year cycle. Each year is represented by an animal. In order they are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram (sheep/goat), Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.chinese-zodiac-animals

The length of the whole cycle approximates the orbital period of Jupiter which is the largest planet in our solar system.

Why is the pig the last animal of the cycle? Well legend has it that when the Jade Emperor summoned the animals, the greedy little pig stopped en route for a snack – fell asleep and arrived late, almost missing being included!

Chinese people often ask very direct questions when they meet you for the first time. A few years ago I was with two young women who were about to visit Britain for the first time. “One of the things you mustn’t do” I said to them “is ask a woman her age.” it is considered very rude, and many women don’t want to divulge how old they are.”  “Why?” I was asked. “Well, some of them have a fear of being thought of as old, and would rather you thought they were younger. Some may have been telling people – including employers – that they are five or ten years younger than they really are, for a variety of reasons.”                                                                                   “That is ridiculous” one of the girls said to me “all I have to do is ask and what zodiac year she is and I will know her age immediately, because if she was born a dog, she is not likely to say she is a snake!”

People born in the Year of the Pig are thought to be extremely fortunate – and my DH who was born in a golden Pig year (that’s a whole nother story) is considered particularly lucky.  What do I know? I’m only a Tiger ….grrrr!

BTW – Chinese astrologers here have predicted that Prince Harry and his wife Megan who are having a Pig baby, will be having a son…who knows.

About herschelian

Started my 60s by moving to China with my DH. Surprised to find I am still here in Beijing eight years later - still finding it an adventure!
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9 Responses to Happy New Year 2019 新年快乐

  1. Christine Novak says:

    Missed you. So glad for the refreshing info.

  2. Steven Kirk says:

    Monkey here, wishing you and yours a very happy Spring Festival!

  3. Jan Whitaker says:

    That photo is unbelievable! Happy New Year.

  4. camparigirl says:

    My fellow Tiger….a happy and prosperous new year to you too!

  5. Delia Charton says:

    Lovely post, Jo! Peace, prosperity and good health wishes have been gratefully received and I wish the same for you and yours! xxxD

    Delia Charton “Poplar Grove” 6, The Valley Close Constantia 7806 W. Cape South Africa 082 415 3363

    271, Main Road Eastcliffe Hermanus 7200


  6. Eha says:

    Oh yes, a pig saying hello and thanks for a fascinating post . . .

  7. Behind the Story says:

    My late husband was born in the year of the Tiger, so I know something about living with a tiger. My youngest daughter and her husband were born in the year pig. Isn’t it funny how much we all love this twelve year cycle of animals? Have a happy new year.

  8. Mother of the Bride says:

    Happy New Year

  9. Bea dM says:

    Peace, prosperity and good health to you too..! One of the few posts I’m very glad to read.

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