Happy Chinese New Year!!!

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Happy New Year!!! It’s the Year of the Cock or if I must consider American sensitivity, the Year of the Rooster. You may not realise it but it’s probably one of the oldest new year celebrations in the world. It probably started in 2300 BC (that’s more than 2000 years before Christ!) but celebrations were on a small scale then. The celebrations became bigger when the New Year was turned into a religious ceremony in the Shang Dynasty (1766 BC – 1122 BC).

It was only in the Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220) that bamboo was first placed in fire to make a loud cracking sound and loud sounds were thought to chase away the forces of evil. That explains the connection of bamboo trees with the Chinese New Year or any Chinese painting for that matter. As you can see, I’m standing among bamboo trees for good effect.

It was only in the Wei Dynasty (AD 220 – AD 265) when fireworks were first used for new year celebrations.

But celebrants are usually required to put on red clothes, red being the traditional auspicious colour. Going nude while wishing others “Xin nian kuai le” or “Happy New Year” is not really what Confucian scholars would approve. But I thought since my skin was already burnt to almost a red hue, I was good enough to pass off as the auspicious colour.

62 thoughts on “Happy Chinese New Year!!!”

    • Oh no! I have given the wrong picture. Qingming or any other Chinese ritual and celebration is NEVER naturist unfortunately. We went hiking in the nude in the mountains and we stumbled upon a large number of people offering prayers and burnt offerings in the forest. We quickly put on our shorts. It wasn't naturist for them at all. But I expressed the opinion that Taiwan may be the first in Asia to embrace naturism because the people are strangely very democatic and progressive. They are on the verge of accepting gay marriages. Very unusual in Asia. We met some people when we were hiking and they didn't give us trouble. Taiwan Naturist Association is quite active there. But of course naturists are a small minority. An extremely small minority.

    • Thanks! My experience with Chinese cuisine in the West has not been good, I'm afraid. So, when I'm abroad and friends tell me "Let's do a Chinese", I always want to suggest eating THEIR food which is so much better. Since you are from England, a steak and kidney pudding from Potters in London or bubble and squeak from George & Vulture or food from ANY of your many delightful pubs would be a thousand times better than doing a Chinese. And you have quaint desserts eg spotted dick! LOL. I love travelling and one of the greatest joys of visiting a different country is to eat the food of the locals.

      My experiences with Chinese food in the West have been quite bad. Sometimes I do miss Asian food. I'll go to a Chinese restaurant for a meal but I usually regret it. The first time I've eaten chop suey was in the US. The first time I've eaten fortune cookies was in Toronto. You'll never find any authentic restaurant in China or any place that has a Chinese majority serving chop suey. Most Chinese people have not even heard of it. And fortune cookies are a gimmick probably invented by some guy in the West.

      On quite a few occasions, I had a bad reaction to MSG poisoning when I ate Chinese food in the West. It was very bad in Paris and the other occasion was in Amsterdam.

      But if you like duck, there are very good Chinese duck restaurants in London. But I don't like duck so I've not tried them. I mentioned fortune cookies in Toronto but that was in a Chinese restaurant patronised mainly by Caucasians. There are VERY good Chinese restaurants in Chinatown in Toronto. Some are even better than what you can find in HK. The rule of thumb is if the waiter wears a jacket and speaks good English, the food won't be good. If the waiter isn't properly dressed and nobody seems to be able to speak any English, the food is more authentic. LOL.

      • Your 'rule of thumb' guide works well in many 'foreign' restaurants in the UK. I used to try Italian Restaurants whenever we were in London, but having two good experiences first actually made other later ones seem really bad! The only argument about food that we were served was in an Italian place here in Hull, they served entirely the wrong meal ordered by my Italian speaking guest,they said it was due to regional language variations, my guest said "No, it's because you're not even Italian yourselves!

    • The people of Taiwan are extremely traditional in observing some of the celebrations. Last year I happened to be in Taipei during the Qingming festival and it was a huge thing. I went on a nude hike up in the mountains when we came across a group of people doing the rituals. I had never before seen such a large burnt offering for Qingming. In Singapore, you only experience some traffic congestion near cemeteries and the only time you see burnt offerings offered by the roadside is during the Hungry Ghost Festival and not during Qingming. I think Taiwan may very well be the most likely place in the whole of Asia to embrace naturism first.

      • Much as I wish that were true, the truth is there are already a few countries across Asia that are way ahead of Taiwan, Thailand being one of them and Israel being another. To my dismay, few people in Taiwan I have spoken with have even heard of the term "naturism".

      • My experiences of naturism in Taiwan have always been pleasant. I was once with the Taiwan Naturist Association and we went to the beach in the east. We were all naked when a police beach marshal rode to us on his beach buggy. When I saw him, I thought there would be trouble. But all he did was to tell us to move further up the beach because there was a family with kids who could see us. So we did as we were told. We then asked him to take pics for us and he complied! He even let us pose on his buggy. I have quite a few photos on his buggy in the nude.

        Last year, during our nude hike, we met a couple who were hiking. The woman was so embarrassed she turned away from us. But she wanted to ask for directions and so she spoke to us with her face averted. Her husband also looked away but they were friendly. Last year or so, some friends of mine were arrested because they were naked in some deserted forest in Taiwan. Someone saw them and called the police. The court found them guilty and fined them. They appealed and the higher court found them not guilty. I can't remember the details of the judgment which was in legal Chinese but it was a positive judgment. I have high hopes for Taiwan.

    • Thanks. That is the old (traditional) writing. It's the script that's still used in Taiwan but in the 20th century, China decided to simplify some of the characters. The first three characters are still the same in the simplified writing system but the last character which is tough to write has been simplified to 乐. Taiwan which had left China by then, refused to use the simplified characters. Chinese people in the other Asian countries adopted the simplified script. So a lot of people will have difficulty reading some words in Taiwan. But sometimes you can tell from the context.

    • It's called 红包 or its transliteration hong bao or ang pow depending on the dialect. It literally means "red packet". It contains money. It's given to children and anyone who visits you and who is not married. It can only be given by those who are married. Even if you are 70 years old and you have never been married, you are entitled to receive it. The giving of the red packet is an integral part of the Chinese New Year culture. All companies make use of it. Your bank will send you a lot of these red packets (empty of course) with their logo on them. So will your car company, your supermarket, your petrol station, your insurance companies and restaurants. Even universities send sets of red packets to the alumni. My church gives them to parishioners. It's become a usual form of advertising for all companies and institutions.

    • Yes. The giving of oranges is obligatory in some dialect groups and it's obligatory for everyone in my country. They must be tangerines and not the usual orange and you must give them in even numbers only. I think they symbolise gold ie that you value them.

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