© Michelle Chan
Lunar New Year, or more commonly known as Chinese New Year in the U.S., is celebrated in a number of countries (e.g. China, Macau, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, etc.) and by a vast array of people in the United States. Lunar New Year is called as such because it follows the lunar calendar, which is different than the Gregorian calendar most of us use on a daily basis. And because the lunar calendar and the Gregorian calendar do not align perfectly, it seems as though Lunar New Year is on a different day every year when we look at the Gregorian calendar! (Simple fact, but took me years to realize...
Growing up, my favorite holiday was always Lunar New Year. Family members would gather together for multiple days, starting a day or two before the new year so that they can have a meal together to reunite at the end of the year before starting a new one together. Then for 2-3 weeks after the start of the new year, we would visit family members and friends in their homes, reconnecting, eating yummy food and sweet treats, and receiving red envelopes filled with money. So while only the first day of Lunar New Year is indicated on the Gregorian calendar, it actually lasts for more than just a day! Just like any holiday, depending on each family's culture and own traditions, Lunar New Year may be celebrated a bit differently.
In the Chinese culture, there are certain well wishes you say to family and friends upon seeing them for the Lunar New Year. Below, I provided just a small handful of frequently used well wishes for you to try out, with my best attempt at how it might sound with English pronunciations:
新年快樂 - "Happy New Year"
(Mandarin: Xin Nian Kuai Le)
(Close enough English pronunciation: Sheen knee-"N" Coo-"I" Luh)
恭喜發財 - "Congratulations on making a fortune"
(Mandarin: Gong Xi Fa Cai)
(Close enough English pronunciation: Gong See Fah Che-"I")
心想事成 - "All your wishes come true"
(Mandarin: Xin Xiang Shi Cheng)
(Close enough English pronunciation: Sheen Shang Shuh Chung)
出入平安 - "Safe travels" (Means safety as you come and go in your daily travels)
(Mandarin: Chu Ru Ping An)
(Close enough English pronunciation: Choo Roo Ping On)
讀書聰明 - "Intelligence" (Literal translation: Studies/reading books intelligence)
(Mandarin: Du Shu Cong Ming)
(Close enough English pronunciation: Do Shoo Chong Ming)
生意興隆 - "Prosperity in your business"
(Mandarin: Sheng Yi Xing Long)
(Close enough English pronunciation: Shun Yee Sheen Lone)
身體健康 - "Good health" (Literal translation: Body healthy)
(Mandarin: Shen Ti Jian Kang)
(Close enough English pronunciation: Shun "T" Gee-"N" Kang)
So to all who celebrate the Lunar New Year... Happy Year of the Rooster!!!
What's your favorite holiday? I'd love to hear how you and your family celebrate any special holidays in your lives! We can all grow and evolve by learning from one another! Differences don't have to be the factor that keeps us apart. We can always make the conscious choice to let our supposed "differences" enlighten and strengthen us individually and collectively.
“Speaking with kindness creates confidence, thinking with kindness creates profoundness, giving with kindness creates love.” – Lao Tzu