On Tuesday, our students enjoyed a divine Chinese New Year feast in the Refectory. Our Chinese New Year feast consisted of crispy sweet and sour chicken, hoi sin pork with ginger and spring onion, green pepper and mushroom chow mein, egg fried rice, prawn toasts, crispy vegetable spring rolls and prawn crackers.
Each year, the Chinese New Year falls on a different date, dependant on the lunar calendar. It always falls between the end of January and mid-February and each year is denoted by a different symbol from the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac.
This year is the Year of the Rat, which is also the symbol for people born in the following years: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008 and 2020. In Chinese culture, it is suggested that people born in the Year of the Rat are characterised as smart, resourceful and quick-witted. They have great imaginations and make sharp observations, with the ability to take advantage of several opportunities.
Their strengths include being intelligent, optimistic and adaptable. Rats symbolise wealth, success and wisdom to the Chinese. In terms of the Yin and Yang theory, they are the yang and signify the beginning of a new day. In particular, men born in this year are able to adapt to new situations, while women take a caring and organised approach.
In China, New Year’s Eve is seen as an important date, with families gathering together for a reunion dinner. Firecrackers are then let off to signal the end of the last year and the beginning of the next. On New Year’s Day, families gather to clean their houses and sweep away bad fortune.
Red envelopes stuffed with ‘lucky money’ are given to children, along with written wishes for them to grow up healthy. People also decorate their houses with red paper cut-outs, banners and special New Year paintings during the festive period.