“Happy New Year,” twice a year…

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I say “Happy New Year,” twice a year, once, for my family and friends in the West and once for my wife, extended family and friends from the East.

Several years ago I wrote a note entitled “An expression of goodwill…”. It gave a brief summary of the holiday known as Chinese New Year.

Today, I have a somewhat better perspective on the event. I gladly greet people, “Xin nian kuai le” (Happy New Year!) and “Gong xi fa cai” (Congratulations and be prosperous!) in my most perfect (?) Mandarin. Some may look at me a bit oddly, but the gesture is generally accepted with a heartfelt smile. This is my way of bringing us all a little closer…

This particular year is denoted the Year of the Rooster, according to the Chinese Zodiac, symbolizing those who are brave, responsible and punctual.

The Chinese Zodiac, aka Sheng Xiao, is based on a twelve-year cycle, with each year highlighting a different animal and its so-called characteristics. The representative signs in order are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

One of the things I found interesting was that “one may not fare well when their sign comes up” in the cycle. I can only reflect on some of my own personal misfortunes and I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to all of this stuff!

I was recently perusing a CNN article which had some predictions regarding the world’s top leaders. It is definitely worth a read…

Those of you intrigued to explore the possible idiosyncrasies of your own “coordinates” should check out AstrologyClub.org. It covers both Chinese and Western horoscope signs.

In the meantime, I sincerely wish all of you,

Xin nian kuai le,” “Gong xi fa cai!”

An expression of goodwill…

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

February 10, 2013 marks the start of a new year for more than one-fifth of the world’s population. While I do not represent that “one-fifth,” I share many links with it. We have attended each other’s weddings, funerals and other more joyous events. It is the most important of traditional Chinese holidays among us. It is also often referred to as the Lunar New Year.

The first day of the New Year is a time to honor your elders and families generally visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended families, usually their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. This is an example of filial piety and is a tradition we could all benefit from, “paying homage to those who have travelled ahead of us.”

Members of the family who are married also give red packets containing cash known as lai see or angpow, a form of blessings and to suppress the aging and challenges associated with the coming year, to junior members of the family, mostly children and teenagers.1 I know my children would have loved following this practice, along with those of everyone else’s holidays!

Business managers give bonuses through red packets to employees for good luck, smooth-sailing, good health and wealth.

I bring some of these traditions up because it has recently come to my attention that China has surpassed the U.S. to become the World’s Largest Trading Nation.2

Isn’t it a better practice to wish your neighbor goodwill? You never know the future will turn. I say Xin nian kuai le (Happy New Year!) and Gong hai fa cai (Congratulations and be prosperous!) out of genuine respect and brotherhood with my neighbor. As I grow older, peace and harmony become ever more important and less stressful for me.

The world is a beautiful place and it grows smaller each day!

1 Wikipedia
2 Bloomberg News