Updated on 1st January 2014 WED  7:02PM

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二月廿日(年初三)上午八時卅分至十二時正,沙巴進步黨斗湖行政區於新安禮堂隆重舉行「丁亥年新春大團拜」,與民同樂共慶新春,國民精神融洽, 各族和諧共處







司儀/催場:黃進梅, 張玉華

Chinese New Year  2007  Year of Pig

Chinese calendar consists of both the Gregorian and a lunar-solar calendrical systems. The
lunar-solar calendar systems  divide a year into twelve month each month  divided equally into thirty-nine and a half days. The well-coordinated dual system calendar reflects the Chinese ingenuity.

A Chinese calendar also included  a twenty-four solar terms closely related to the changes of Nature -- a very useful tool for farmers, providing information on the proper time for planting and harvesting.

On the Chinese Calendar also include terminology like Tian Gan and Di Zhi (Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch), a Chinese way of marking the years in a sixty-year cycle. There is also a system that marks the years in a twelve-year cycle, naming each of them after an animal such as Rat, Ox, Tiger, Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar. BTW, I was born in the year of Sheep. The Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival celebration, which begins with the new moon for fifteen days and ends with the full moon. You can see why it is called the Lunar New Year!

This Chinese New Year  is the Year of the Pig. Festivities begin on 19 February 2007 Sunday.

The Chinese calendar has a twelve-year cycle and each year of the cycle is named after an animal.

The Chinese celebrate their new year in many ways. They hang colorful paper lanterns, set off firecrackers, give “hongbao” (money in red envelopes), stay up all night, and, of course, get together and feast!

The giving out of "Yasuiqian" or "Red packets" (Lucky money) is a New Year tradition for Chinese people. In ancient tradition, people place some copper coins wrapped in red paper beside the pillows of their children on the Lunar New Year's Eve to drive away devil and bad lucks.  Today it had evolved into  red packet (lucky money)  that parents and elders give to children during the Chinese  New Year to wish them good luck.

Lucky money in  its original form, is giving out only a little money to symbolizing best wishes to the receiver. Nowadays, the lucky money have become a New Year nightmare to many low income Chinese people.

The Twenty-Four Terms

The first fifteen days of the Chinese lunar month makes the first term, namely:

1 Beginning of Spring usually starting from the fourth or fifth of February. And the first day is the Chinese New Year's Day or the onset of the Spring Festival. Incidentally, the New Year's Day of 1995 is January 31st.
2 Rain Water from the nineteenth or twentieth of February, a time when rainy seasons are setting in.
3 Waking of Insects from the fifth or sixth of March, as the earth awakes from hibernation;
4 Spring Equinox from the twentieth or twenty-first of March;
5 Pure Brightness from the fourth or fifth of April;
6 Grain Rain from the twentieth or twenty-first of April;
7 Beginning of Summer from the fifth or sixth of May;
8 Grain Full from the twentieth or twenty-first of May;
9 Grain in Ear from the fifth or sixth of June;
10 Summer Solstice from the twenty-first or second of June;
11 Slight Heat from the sixth or seventh of July;
12 Great Heat from the twenty-second or third of July;
13 Beginning of Autumn from the seventh or eighth of August;
14 Limit of Heat from the twenty-third or fourth of August;
15 White Dew from the seventh or eighth of September;
16 Autumnal Equinox from the twenty-third or fourth of September;
17 Cold Dew from the eighth or ninth of October;
18 Frost's Descent  from the twentieth-three or fourth of October;
19 Beginning of Winter from the seventh or eighth of November;
20 Slight Snow from the twenty-second or third of November;
21 Great Snow  from the seventh or eighth of December;
22 Winter Solstice from the twenty-second or third of December;
23 Slight Cold from the fifth or sixth of January; and lastly
24 Great Cold from the twentieth or twenty-first of January which brings the 24-term cycle to an end.

The Origin of Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year is popularly known as the Spring Festival because it starts from the Beginning of Spring (the first of the twenty-four terms in coordination with the changes of Nature). Its origin is too old to be traced. Several explanations are hanging around. All agree, however, that the word Nian, which in modern Chinese solely means "year", was originally the name of a monster beast that started to prey on people the night before the beginning of a new year (Do not lose track here: we are talking about the new year in terms of the Chinese calendar).

One legend goes that the beast Nian had a very big mouth that would swallow a great many people with one bite. People were very scared. One day, an old man came to their rescue, offering to subdue Nian. To Nian he said, "I hear say that you are very capable, but can you swallow the other beasts of prey on earth instead of people who are by no means of your worthy opponents?" So, swallow it did many of the beasts of prey on earth that also harassed people and their domestic animals from time to time.

After that, the old man disappeared riding the beast Nian. He turned out to be an immortal god. Now that Nian is gone and other beasts of prey are also scared into forests, people begin to enjoy their peaceful life. Before the old man left, he had told people to put up red paper decorations on their windows and doors at each year's end to scare away Nian in case it sneaked back again, because red is the color the beast feared the most.

From then on, the tradition of observing the conquest of Nian is carried on from generation to generation. The term "Guo Nian", which may mean "Survive the Nian" becomes today "Celebrate the (New) Year" as the word "guo" in Chinese having both the meaning of "pass-over" and "observe". The custom of putting up red paper and firing fire-crackers to scare away Nian should it have a chance to run loose is still around. However, people today have long forgotten why they are doing all this, except that they feel the color and the sound add to the excitement of the celebration.

While Chinese New Year celebrated with in Malaysia with joy, modern China has lost many of her ancient traditions.

"I had never seen real, live Lion Dancing before that except on TV, not even in Beijing where I was born," said Li, a young man from China who studied overseas for more than 10 years. "...traditional Chinese culture receives special attention during the Spring Festival outside of China". Li Jialin, who works for an American company in Beijing, saw Lion Dancing for the first time in 1999 in Perth, western Australia, when he was a high school student there.

China is fortunate to have its own rich and unique traditions that have endured millennia. It's a shame that many young  Chinese today don't take the time to truly admire the magnificence of their parents culture.

In 2006, China government proclaimed the Spring Festival an intangible cultural heritage, along with Shaolin kung fu, Peking Opera and acupuncture


 January 01, 2014 07:11:27 PM

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