Chinese New Year is next Sunday (14th Feb)! It is the year of the Tiger! (在虎! hǔ nián!) Happy New Year!! (新年快樂!! xīn nián kuài lè!!)
Chinatown in London will celebrate Chinese New Year on the following Sunday 21st Feb 2010 between 12pm-6pm. There will be dragon dancing, lion dances outside shops and firecrackers to mark the event.
In China the mythical creature Nian (年兽, nián shòu) is a beast that lives underground or in mountains (it also shares the name of a year). Once a year, around the time of spring and new year Nian is said to come out of hiding to devour livestock, crops,and even villagers, especially children. It is thought that loud noises and the colour red scare the Nian, which is where the Lion dance (not to be confused with the dragon dance) and loud firecrackers are thought to stem from.
That is the myth of the creation of Chinese New Year. The truth may be much more prosaic. In the middle of the long winter months, a bang up celebration is a good way to cheer everyone's spirits. Noise and fireworks always make a party go with a bang, and the colour red is the colour of celebration in China.
Here are some phrases that may be useful next weekend:
xīn nián kuài lè
Happy new year
gōng hè xīn xǐ
Happy New Year
shēn zhuàng lì jiàn
May you have a healthy body and great strength
xīn xiǎng shì chéng
May your wish come true
wàn shì rú yì
to have all one's wishes - 'best wishes'
gōng xǐ fā cái
Have a prosperous New Year!
hǔ nián xíng dà yùn
Good luck in the year of the Tiger
zài hǔ nián shù qiáns hù bù wán
May you have countless amount of money in the year of the Tiger