If I could choose my Chinese zodiac animal – I would have opted for the ‘Goat’ – for their gentle, kind and mild-mannered characteristics. Since ancient times, Chinese people have been using its fleece to make writing brushes and its jackets for warmth. Their pure snow-white fur resembles precious white jade. This year celebrates the year of the goat 2015.
Although these beauties appear gentle on the outside, they are also resilient and strong in character.
A Festival for Families to come together
Chinese New Year is an excellent opportunity to invite sons and daughters home to celebrate the festival together. Many families will gather around a large table on the eve of the New Year to enjoy the ‘reunion dinner’ as it is recognised as one of the most important meals of the year.
For many Chinese people, it is also a time when many superstitious beliefs and practices are connected to this event. Traditionally, all the streets and peoples’ homes will hang decorations of red paper cuttings of animals and red lanterns. In particular, banners of red couplets with phrases that signify happiness and good fortune appear across peoples’ front doors. The colour ‘Red’ is the predominant colour for the New Year – for it symbolises happiness and prosperity.
Red Packets (lai see) in Cantonese
Married couples and the elderly are obliged to hand out red packets to non-married relatives, especially children. It is also a custom for children to greet their elders with greetings of happiness and good health before the red packet is handed out. So, for children and some unmarried couples, they are the happiest, and always brimming with joy at this time of year – as these red packets always contain money.
Friends and families will exchange auspicious greetings, and the most famous phrase is ‘Kung Hei Fat Choy’, meaning congratulations and good fortune.
So, Kung Hei Fat Choy to all crocheters out there – ewe must be an excellent year! Happy year of the Goat 2015.