Chinese New Year
2016 is the Chinese Year of the Monkey
Yes it's already Chinese New Years Eve here in Shanghai and things are crazy here as everyone is doing last minute shopping before the shops shut and many people head off to family all across China.
They say it's the greatest movement of people on earth as millions take trains, planes and cars to travel away from the big cities back to smaller towns and villages. By millions I mean hundreds of millions
It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly clean the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper cuttings to encourage good fortune and longevity and include lighting firecrackers and giving family and friend money in red paper envelopes.
In addition to red envelopes, which are usually given from older people to younger people, small gifts (usually food or sweets) are also exchanged between friends or relatives (of different households) during Chinese New Year. Gifts are usually brought when visiting friends or relatives at their homes. Common gifts include fruits (typically oranges, but never pears), cakes, biscuits, chocolates, and candies.
The New Year festival is centuries old however in 1967 during the Cultural Revolution, Chinese New Year celebrations were banned in China, but celebrations were reinstated 13 years later in 1980.
This year it the year of the Monkey (feb 8th) last year was year of the Goat (feb19th) and next year it's the Rooster (jan 28th).
This is my 4th year now working and teaching in China, so to all my WA friends I am wishing everyone a happy and prosperous year, or as they say in China "Gong Xi Fa Cai" from Shanghai, China