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Wing Chun News #012 Happy Chinese New Year!
January 25, 2012

Make your martial arts school more profitable this New Year without adding more students…

January 25, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year and Spring Festival

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新年快乐 fellow Wing Chun fanatic! --

It’s Rob here at If you can’t read Chinese, or if your “computer” can’t read it, the above says, “Xin Nian Kuai Le” and that’s how you say “Happy New Year” in Chinese --

I want to wish you a happy Chinese New Year that’s full of good fortune, health, and luck.

Here are a few fun facts about Chinese New Year you probably never knew:

  • Other ways to wish someone a happy New Year in Mandarin

    过年好 - Guo Nian Hao

    恭喜发财 - Gong Xi Fa Cai [Gong Hay Fat Choi - in Cantonese]

  • In China it’s more common to call it Chun Jie (Spring Festival) rather than New Year, even though it takes place during the lunar new year. Also, if you’re in China don’t say happy “Chinese” New Year, otherwise people will look at you funny.
  • Based on the Chinese Zodiac this is the year of the Dragon.
  • The Chinese Zodiac is divided into a twelve year cycle based on a lunar calendar, not our current Gregorian solar calendar, which is why Chinese New Year falls on a different day each year.
  • The Zodiac has nothing to do with the celestial sky like it does in the West. Each year is represented by an animal: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Due to differences in translation sometimes the Pig will be Boar, Goat will be Sheep, Ox will be Cow, Rat will be Mouse… but they’re close enough, right?
  • In turn, each animal is matched up with one of the five elements: metal, water, wood, fire, and earth.


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  • This year is the year of the “Water” Dragon.
  • It's believed that you take on the personality traits from the animal of the year you were born. For example, a child born now, during the year the Dragon would be full of vitality and enthusiasm, a popular person, a bit of a show-off, intelligent, and a perfectionist, which may also make him or her demanding.
  • Every 12-year anniversary is believed to bring good luck. One simple thing people do to celebrate their 12 year anniversary and bring more luck is wear something red. Some people wear red the whole year. An easy way to do that is wear a piece of red string as a necklace or bracelet.
  • Because each animal is associated to the five elements… This gives you a 60-year cycle before reaching your animal AND element anniversary. This is an especially lucky year! For example, a child born now in the year of the Water Dragon will have to wait 60 years before the next Water Dragon appears. If you're lucky enough to see two sixty-year cycles, then you are very fortunate!
  • Check out this Chinese Zodiac calculator and discover your sign and element.
  • The Chinese New Year holiday represents the largest human migration in the world! And it happens each and every year.
  • The official holiday in China lasts for about 10 days. For most workers this is the only holiday they take all year long and use it to travel home to be with family.
  • According to, the Chinese government estimates this Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) the number of passenger trips on trains, planes, boats, and buses will reach 3.2 billion, up 9.1% from last year!
  • At home families like to hang pictures or posters with symbols of happiness, precious metals like gold (which symbolize good fortune), and fruit and fish (which symbolize abundance). These pictures and posters use a heavy dose of red for good luck and fortune. Giving red envelops as gifts is common; inside they have money.
  • Dragons are good luck in China and most of Asia. They are protectors and considered like guardian angels in the West. This is the opposite in the West where dragons are evil, feared, detested, and must be killed.
  • Chinese New Year is celebrated in many countries with large Chinese populations: China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam. In countries with smaller Chinese populations the Spring Festival is celebrated in Chinatown.
  • At home, the traditional food will vary from region to region. Typically, though, you can find some kind of sausage (its length symbolizes long life), dumpling, fish, and chicken.
  • In mainland China a traditional pass time is watching the annual New Year variety show on T.V. It’s broadcast on New Year’s evening and lasts a few hours. It has singing, dancing, magic, skits, and vaudeville-style comedy (like watching Laurel and Hardy perform with a lot of play on words). The whole country tunes in. Popular entertainers from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are invited to perform. And new or unknown artists who are lucky to end up on stage almost always become overnight successes.
  • In many Chinese New Year celebrations fireworks play an important role. The more the merrier, the louder the merrier. I spent one Spring Festival in China and thought I was in a war zone. The concept of safety and caution doesn’t exist where I went.

I hope you have a great New Year and feel free to share what you did to celebrate Chinese New Year, the year of the Water Dragon.

Rob @ WingChunLife


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