Sunday, 6 February 2011

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Or Happy Chinese New Year!

One of the lovely things about teaching in an International School is the range of different festivals that we celebrate.  The Muslim festival of Hari Raya Aidilfitri was the first one of these that I experienced, but last week we celebrated Chinese New Year.

We had a fantastic assembly where we all wore red (or Chinese costume if we had it) and watched some of the Secondary students perform the Lion Dance.  Sadly my photos of this occasion are all on my classroom computer, not at home.  All the children (and staff!) were given gifts of mandarins, symbols of luck and wealth.

One of the nicest aspects of the celebration was the fact that we were given 2 days off work!  We went down to Miri, just over the border in Sarawak, Malaysia, for a few days.

This turned out to be somewhat of a mistake as a) it rained for most of the time, and b) most of Miri was closed due to the public holidays, but we had a nice time nonetheless!  Several of our friends were also there, so it turned into a very sociable couple of days.

Miri - as much of Malaysia - has a large Chinese population so many of the streets were festooned with Chinese lanterns.  Beautiful by day and by night.

It also meant that we were able to eat in some great Chinese restaurants - we played it safe and avoided the chicken feet (which you can see on the picture menu behind Rob!)

We had heard that the hotel we were staying at - the Miri Marriott - hosted a Lion Dance for Chinese New Year, but unfortunately this year it happened at 11am on Thursday...  and we arrived at 12 noon, just in time to see the dancers packing up their drums. 

However, the hotel left mandarins and a 'lucky' 10c in every room!

So the year of the Rabbit has begun - something that pleases me because it turns out that I was born in the year of the Rabbit too.  According to the card, people born under the sign of the rabbit are 'articulate, talented and ambitious' as well as 'admired, trusted and often financially lucky'.  I can't say I agree completely with that assessment of my character, but I'll keep my fingers crossed for that financial 'luck' - perhaps I should go and buy a lottery ticket?!

May the year be happy and prosperous for you all.


Karen said...

Gung Hay Fat Choy, Kate!
I don't quite understand the Chinese zodiac. Because if you are supposed to have those qualities, so would everyone else born in your year. That seems even less plausible than everyone born in the same month having character traits in common according to the Western zodiac. Not that I believe in that either. Anyway, happy Year of the Rabbit!

Sarah Canada said...

Gung Hay Fat Choy to you too mate!
Happy rabbiting. Just FYI the signs are tempered by one of the five Chinese elements of Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth overlaying a 5-year cycle of characteristics on the original 12-year cycle. So there you go. I'm year of the dog but also a metal dog....doesn't sound too fab does it but actually it's quite good. Who knew....