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Chinese New Year

September 23, 2010

Intangible heritage in Hong Kong

Everybody knows that the New Year beings on the first of January. When the people were celebrating the New Year in the world, Chinese did not care about that too much. It is because we would celebrate our own New Year — lunar New Year. It is on the first of the first month in lunar calendar. Solar calendar is not the same as lunar calendar. For example, the day of 24th of September in solar calendar is the day of 17th of the eighth month in lunar calendar and this differ in every year.

There are many traditional rituals and habits in Chinese New year. Also, we would make a perfect preparation to welcome the New Year. On the 28th of 12th month, people would clean-up their home and buy some pickling food for the New Year, such as sweet lotus roots, watermelon seeds (old fashion) and candy (new fashion).

On the 30th of 12th month, the last day of the year, we have a family reunion dinner. All of the people would go back home early from working place. Family members would gather together and have an abundant dinner. The perfection of the whole family is the meaning of the family reunion dinner. Therefore, the name of cuisines is meaningful and being good luck. Pork Leg means smoothly to gain the success. Nostoc Flagell means wealth. Tang-yuan means perfection, etc.

After 1st of 1st month, this is The New Year. I would like to mention some of rituals and activities. 1st of 1st month, we pray and hole rituals to ancestors and gods, for example, burning the death money and serve vegetable meal. Furthermore, we have the “first dinner” to welcome a new year. “First Dinner” is a vegetable meal. This is affected by the ideal of “no kill” in Buddha. We want to be good luck in the coming year.

For the children, the happiest things in the New Year must be collecting red pockets. Elder would tuck money in red pocket and give red pocket to the younger in the gathering. Color red means luck in Chinese. Therefore, more red pockets represent more luck in the coming year.

To name just a few, there are many activities in Chinese New Year. This must be the most interesting intangible heritage in Hong Kong!

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