Xuefei Jessica Thompson explains the Chinese New Year which falls on February 12th, and is being celebrated around the world, including in Madrid among it´s large Chinese community.
New Year, the most important historical and cultural celebration across China is upon us. The festival is tied to the lunar moon and signifies a new beginning for the people. It gifts the Chinese public the chance of fulfilling their desires and goals in the coming year. Under today’s circumstances, this is a message we can all stand behind.
This year’s celebration is in honour of the Ox.
Derived from the mythical Chinese folk’s tale ‘十二生肖赛跑(shi er sheng xiao sai pao)’ , which tells the story of a race between 12 animals, takes place per request of the Jade Emperor on his birthday.
Every lunar year is attached to an animal in order of their ranking in the race, repeating itself every 12 years. The concept is often understood as the ‘Chinese zodiac sign system’. The Ox was the rightful winner but was blindsided by the rat.
The rat cheated and near finished the race on the Ox’s back before jumping towards the finish line last second, stealing 1st place from the Ox. Much like astrology, the Chinese zodiac signs are used to analyze one’s character.
The Ox represents stability and longevity, whilst the negative connotations of the rat has resulted in the Chinese public purposely avoiding the birth year for their children. What may appear to be superstition from an outsiders perspective, is at the core of today’s Chinese culture.
Following to the coronavirus outbreak, social issues spiked and there is little confidence in the economy. CNY is the perfect opportunity to lift your spirits and join the celebrations. Here are a few fun traditions you can implement into your Friday evening.
There is an abundance of events available in Madrid this year, starting with the digital China Taste event. Endorsed by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China and Madrid City Council, the China Taste offers insight into the creation of traditional Chinese food.
It lists local Chinese restaurants with a discounted CNY menu, including the dish of my childhood –Dumplings. Dumplings are the center piece of all Chinese New Year feasts. This is due to the shape of the dumpling mirroring the ancient Chinese coin, signifying wealth and prosperity for the consumer.
Furthermore, ‘red packets’, a red envelope filled with cash, is often given to friends and family members along with blessings as a dazzling emblem of love and appreciation.
I encourage everyone to join in on this year’s celebrations and start the new lunar year with a clean slate and wishful thinking!
Thank you Xuefei Jessica Thompson!