It’s Happy New Year … again, in China … and other Asian countries.
See this “Feature Article”:
When people talk about the “holiday season” in the U.S., they typically refer to that period between Thanksgiving dinner and New Year’s Day. But shortly after that, another massive holiday brings friends and family together in several Asian countries, with concurrent parties that carry on the traditions stateside. The Lunar New Year, most commonly associated with the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, typically falls sometime between January 21 and February 20 annually. Lunar New Year 2021 is on February 12, and in terms of the Chinese zodiac animal, it’s the Year of the Ox.
It’s called the Lunar New Year because it marks the first new moon of the lunisolar calendars traditional to many east Asian countries including China, South Korea, and Vietnam, which are regulated by the cycles of the moon and sun. As the New York Times explains, “A solar year—the time it takes Earth to orbit the sun—lasts around 365 days, while a lunar year, or 12 full cycles of the Moon, is roughly 354 days.” As with the Jewish lunisolar calendar, “a month is still defined by the moon, but an extra month is added periodically to stay close to the solar year.” This is why the new year falls on a different day within that month-long window each year.
In China, the 15-day celebration kicks off on New Year’s Eve with a family feast called a reunion dinner full of traditional Lunar New Year foods, and typically ends with the Lantern Festival. “It’s really a time for new beginnings, and family gathering,” says Nancy Yao Maasbach, president of New York City’s Museum of Chinese in America. Three overarching themes, she says, are “fortune, happiness, and health.”
Here’s what to know about Lunar New Year traditions, and what more than 1.5 billion people do to celebrate it.
Source: Posted and retrieved Feb 12, 2021 from: https://www.oprahmag.com/life/a34892893/what-is-lunar-new-year-festival/
Why should we commemorate or even pay attention to this Sinophone culture? For one reason, as explained in the foregoing article: 1.5 Billion people.
This is so familiar for the movement behind the 2013 book Go Lean…Caribbean; as we published a previous blog-commentary on the same topic last year, just as the Coronavirus Pandemic was blowing up round the worlds – it was hard to celebrate anything “Chinese” then. It is only apropos that we Encore that commentary again now, as we measure this milestone in the annals of Caribbean life.
The Wuhan, China-bred Coronavirus is still wreaking havoc on the world stage. But China has done better in managing this crisis.
… China has not wasted this crisis. As the world’s economy has receded, China’s had expanded. Wow!
We need more of the Chinese actuality in our Caribbean actuality. We need to invite, retain and return China’s time, talent and treasuries. See how that previous blog-commentary presented that thesis last year; consume this commentary here/now:
Go Lean Commentary – Happy Chinese New Year
Happy New Year …
No, not the January 1st thing, but rather the January 25th thing – the Chinese New Year.
This is a Big Deal in China and among the Chinese Diaspora – Sinophone – throughout the world. There is great importance to this observation. See this VIDEO and encyclopedic reference here:
VIDEO – Everything you need to know about the Chinese New Year – https://youtu.be/3I-R5S3czyw
Posted January 24, 2020 – Here’s everything you need to know about the Chinese New Year – how it’s celebrated, it’s history, and what the animals represent.
Visit our website: http://trt.world
- Category: News & Politics
Title: Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year[a], also referred to as Lunar New Year, is the Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. The festival is usually referred to as the Spring Festival in mainland China,[b] and is one of several Lunar New Years in Asia. Observances traditionally take place from the evening preceding the first day of the year to the Lantern Festival, held on the 15th day of the year. The first day of Chinese New Year begins on the new moon that appears between 21 January and 20 February. In 2020, the first day of the Chinese New Year will be on Saturday, 25 January, initiating the Year of the Rat.
Chinese New Year is a major holiday in China, and has strongly influenced Lunar new year celebrations of China’s neighbouring cultures, including the Korean New Year (seol), the Tết of Vietnam, and the Losar of Tibet. It is also celebrated worldwide in regions and countries with significant Overseas Chinese or Sinophone populations, including Singapore,Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar,Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Mauritius, as well as many in North America and Europe.
Chinese New Year is associated with several myths and customs. The festival was traditionally a time to honour deities as well as ancestors. Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the New Year vary widely, and the evening preceding Chinese New Year’s Day is frequently regarded as an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly clean their house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck. Another custom is the decoration of windows and doors with red paper-cuts and couplets. Popular themes among these paper-cuts and couplets include that of good fortune or happiness, wealth, and longevity. Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes. For the northern regions of China, dumplings are featured prominently in meals celebrating the festival. It often serves as the first meal of the year either at midnight or as breakfast of the first day.
New Year’s Eve
The biggest event of any Chinese New Year’s Eve is the annual reunion dinner. Dishes consisting of special meats are served at the tables, as a main course for the dinner and offering for the New Year. This meal is comparable to Thanksgiving dinner in the U.S. and remotely similar to Christmas dinner in other countries with a high percentage of Christians.
In northern China, it is customary to make jiaozi, or dumplings, after dinner to eat around midnight. Dumplings symbolize wealth because their shape resembles a Chinese sycee. In contrast, in the South, it is customary to make a glutinous new year cake (niangao) and send pieces of it as gifts to relatives and friends in the coming days. Niángāo [Pinyin] literally means “new year cake” with a homophonous meaning of “increasingly prosperous year in year out”.
After dinner, some families go to local temples hours before the new year begins to pray for a prosperous new year by lighting the first incense of the year; however in modern practice, many households hold parties and even hold a countdown to the new year. Traditionally, firecrackers were lit to scare away evil spirits with the household doors sealed, not to be reopened until the new morning in a ritual called “opening the door of fortune” (开财门; 開財門; kāicáimén).
Beginning in 1982, the CCTV New Year’s Gala is broadcast in China four hours before the start of the New Year and lasts until the succeeding early morning. Watching it has gradually become a tradition in China. A tradition of going to bed late on New Year’s Eve, or even keeping awake the whole night and morning, known as shousui (守岁), is still practised as it is thought to add on to one’s parents’ longevity.
The first day is for the welcoming of the deities of the heavens and earth, officially beginning at midnight. It is a traditional practice to light fireworks, burn bamboo sticks and firecrackers and to make as much of a din as possible to chase off the evil spirits as encapsulated by nian of which the term Guo Nian was derived. Many Buddhists abstain from meat consumption on the first day because it is believed to ensure longevity for them. Some consider lighting fires and using knives to be bad luck on New Year’s Day, so all food to be consumed is cooked the days before. On this day, it is considered bad luck to use the broom, as good fortune is not to be “swept away” symbolically.
Most importantly, the first day of Chinese New Year is a time to honor one’s elders and families visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended families, usually their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.
Some families may invite a lion dance troupe as a symbolic ritual to usher in the Chinese New Year as well as to evict bad spirits from the premises. Members of the family who are married also give red envelopes containing cash known as lai see (Cantonese dialect) or angpow (Hokkien, Chaozhou, and Fujian dialects), or hongbao (Mandarin), 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. Business managers also give bonuses through red packets to employees for good luck, smooth-sailing, good health and wealth.
While fireworks and firecrackers are traditionally very popular, some regions have banned them due to concerns over fire hazards. For this reason, various city governments (e.g., Kowloon, Beijing, Shanghai for a number of years) issued bans over fireworks and firecrackers in certain precincts of the city. As a substitute, large-scale fireworks display have been launched by governments in such city-states as Hong Kong and Singapore. However, it is a tradition that the indigenous peoples of the walled villages of New Territories, Hong Kong are permitted to light firecrackers and launch fireworks in a limited scale.
Source: Retrieved January 25, 2020 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_New_Year
What’s the Big Deal? Well, for starters, this relates to the 1.4 Billion people in China. That’s a market size that is bigger than North America and the European Union … combined. Consider the encyclopedic details in the Appendix below.
You see it, right? You do see why this is important; 1.5 Billion people (out of 7.7 Billion) in a world where Size Matters (as related in this previous blog-commentary from August 26, 2016):
For Hollywood – a metonym for the film-television-video industry – any access to large markets is a win-win.
… this country has 1.3 billion people. That’s a lot of “eye-balls”. This country, considering its history, used to be closed to western commerce and movie distributions. Now, its open … and advancing. Those 1.3 billion pairs of eye-balls are presenting a lot of opportunities and now starting to wield power.
For the Caribbean, this is a necessary discussion for the planners and stewards of a new Caribbean; this requires a consideration of the economic engines for our communities. This is the assertion of the movement behind the 2013 book Go Lean…Caribbean – that size matters when it comes to marketing your “Export Products & Services”. For us in the Caribbean, our primary export is tourism – we sell travel experiences to consumers around the world. – we must consider the 20-percent of the population that features Sinophone culture.
We must curry their favor!
So Happy New Year to our Sinophone friends and family.
Yes, we have Sinophone family members in the Caribbean. In a previous blog-commentary, it was detailed how Chinese immigrants were “recruited” to come and impact the Caribbean eco-system. Consider this excerpt:
10 Things We Want from China and 10 Things We Do Not Want
Like it or not, the Caribbean is in competition with the rest of the world – and we are losing! …
Now we must consider other countries … that compete with us and are doing MUCH BETTER jobs of contending in this competitive environment. We must consider China and India:
China … went from “zero to hero”, emerging as an economic Super Power in short order. We can look, listen and learn from the Chinese eco-system; their mainland (the Peoples Republic of China), the special territories of Hong Kong and Taiwan (the Republic of China). We can lend-a-hand in reforming and transforming our own Caribbean region – as China has had to do – and we can eventually lead a reboot and turn-around of Caribbean society; again as China has done. …
While Caribbean people are not fleeing their homeland to relocate to China. there is a Diaspora issue associated with Caribbean-China relations: Indentured Servitude. At the end of the era of Caribbean slavery (1830’s to 1840’s), the plantation system required a replacement labor source; many Chinese nationals were thusly “recruited” as Indentured Servants to the region – British, French and Spanish lands – see here:
- There were two main waves of Chinese migration to the Caribbean region. The first wave of Chinese consisted of indentured labourers who were brought to the Caribbean predominantly Trinidad, British Guiana and Cuba, to work on sugar plantations during the post-Emancipation period. The second wave was comprised of free voluntary migrants, consisting of either small groups (usually relatives) to British Guiana, Jamaica and Trinidad from the 1890’s to the 1940’s. In fact the most modern Caribbean Chinese are descended from this second group. – Caribbean-Atlas.com
Derivatives of the 18,000-plus Chinese immigrants are still here in the Caribbean today. These descendants have grown in numbers and power (economic and political) in the region. They are part of the fabric of our society. They are home in the Caribbean; and we are at home with them
So we need to embrace the Sinophone world, here and abroad – we must “curry their favor”. The liberal view is to value what they value and honor what they honor, while the conservative view is to NOT disrespect this people-culture and allow them to co-exist, survive and thrive. Doing so extends hospitality to these people and incentivizes them to trade with us – come visit as tourists – and impact our economic prospects.
This is the same thing we said about India and the Indophone Diaspora, in a previous blog-commentary from October 2017:
Making a ‘Pluralistic Democracy’ – Respecting Diwali
A “Pluralistic Democracy” … means a society where the many different ethnic groups (and religions) have respect, equal rights, equal privileges and equal protections under the law; where there are no superior rights to any majority and no special deprivations to any minority. The expectation is for anyone person to be treated like everyone else. …
We fail so miserably in respecting non-standard traditions. The truth of the matter is that while religious toleration appears to be high in the Caribbean, this is really only true of European-styled Christian faiths. Other non-White religious traditions (let’s consider Hindu) are often ignored or even ridiculed in open Caribbean society, despite the large number of adherents. Of the 30 member-states to comprise the Caribbean Single Market, 3 of them have a large Indian-Hindu ethnicity. As a result, in these communities, though lowly promoted, one of the biggest annual celebrations for those communities is Diwali or Divali
… While Diwali is a religious celebration, many aspects of this culture spills-over to general society; see the detailed plans of a previous year (2009) in Appendix A below. This celebration, in many ways, is similar to Christmas spilling-over to non-Christian people in Christian countries. So the festivities carry a heavy civic-cultural “feel” as opposed to religious Hindu adherence. Plus, these values here are positive community ethos that any stewards in any society would want to promote: “the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair”.
What about the argument that this Chinese (and Indian) toleration – like celebrating the Chinese New Year – is not Christian?
Don’t get it twisted!
Christmas – the western equivalent to the Chinese New Year tradition – is not Christian either, consider – Four reasons Christmas is not Christian:
- Dec. 25 is the wrong day, and it’s celebrated for the wrong god. Dec. 25 is associated with many pagan birth myths—not Christ’s birth.
- Most Christmas traditions come from pagan religions, not the Bible.
- There is no Santa Claus. Parents shouldn’t lie to their children.
- Christians should keep the holy days that Jesus kept, not holidays that originated in paganism.
. Source: January 25, 2020 from: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/blog/four-reasons-christmas-is-not-christian/
The movement behind the Go Lean book have always advocated this community ethos:
Live and let live.
Plus, we need to embrace China right now. They are one of the few groups of Direct Foreign Investors that have been showing interest in the Caribbean communities. We need all the help we can get to reform and transform our society. The heavy-lifting gets a little easier with a little help from our friends. Consider these previous blog-commentaries related to China’s investments in our region:
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=18301||After Hurricane Dorian, Rebuilding Partners: China Versus America|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=16192||In Defense of Trade – China Realities|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8799||History of China Trade: Too Big to Ignore|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8813||Why China will soon be Hollywood’s largest market|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8815||China’s Organ Transplantation: Facts and Fiction|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8817||Chinese Mobile Games Apps: The new Playground|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8819||South China Seas: Exclusive Economic Zones??|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8823||China’s WeChat: Model for Caribbean Social Media|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6231||China’s Caribbean Playbook: America’s Script|
What about the argument that China is a Communist state and advocates for communism?
We have addressed this issue before – June 20, 2019:
‘Free Market’ Versus … China – Two Systems at Play
China is on the verge of overtaking the US as the Number 1 Single Market economy in the world…
- Wait, isn’t China a communist state?
- Hasn’t communism failed to deliver on its promises to elevate societies that abide by its principles?
Yes, and yes …
But China demonstrates that there is a difference between principles and practices. China abides by communist principles, but their practice is more aligned with Free Market concepts, especially with their doubling-down in trade, World Trade.
Do we truly consider Hong Kong as a communist state? Far from it; yet it is China; it is part of the “One country, two systems” practice.
All in all, we have nothing to fear from China – not their culture, religion, politics nor their military power. We should simply embrace them for trade in a give-and-take relationship. We must export to China as well; we need Chinese tourism.
We have to make changes, on our end, to make this Chinese tourism viable. We have to work harder to “live and let live”:
This is the charter of the Go Lean roadmap; we urge all stakeholders to lean-in to the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to elevate our society. This is worth all the effort for us to do. This is how we make our Caribbean homeland a better place to live, work and play. 🙂
About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:
- Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
- Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
- Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.
The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.
Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!
Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):
xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.
xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.
xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.
Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.
Appendix – Reference: Sinophone
Chinese-speaking world or Sinophone or sinophone is a neologism that fundamentally means “Chinese-speaking”, typically referring to a person who speaks at least one variety of Chinese. Academic writers use Sinophone “Chinese-speaking regions” in two ambiguous meanings: either specifically “Chinese-speaking areas where it is a minority language, excluding China and Taiwan” or generally “Chinese-speaking areas, including where it is an official language”. Many authors use the collocation Sinophone world to mean the regions of Chinese diaspora outside of Greater China, and some for the entire Chinese-speaking world. Mandarin Chinese is the most commonly spoken language today, with over one billion people, approximately 20% of the world population, speaking it. …
Statistics (for populations outside of China and Taiwan)
|Hong Kong||6,264,700||88.9%||2016||[note 2]|
|Northern Mariana Islands||14,862||23.4%||2000|||
Source: Retrieved January 25, 2020 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinophone
Source: Retrieved January 25, 2020 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population