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Celebrating the Year of the Snake

Year of the Snake Lanterns

Andrew Yang
Sales Representative for Elasto Proxy

Are you ready for the Year of the Snake? According to Shengxiao and the Chinese calendar, the New Year that began on February 10 belongs to a slithering reptile that some people dread. Better known as the Chinese Zodiac, Shengxiao relates the year to an animal and its attributes. Children born in the Year of the Snake are said to be intelligent, insightful, and fortunate with finances. For adults, the 2013 Year of the Snake is a time for steady progress and attention to detail.

Chinese New Year

China’s New Year celebration ended on February 24, but memories of the Spring Festival remain with us. Each year, even if you live far from family, it’s important to return home for this two-week celebration. On New Year’s Eve, extended families gather together for a special Reunion Dinner, shaking off the strains of the past and embracing the future with hope and happiness. Through smiles and laughter, the bonds between children and parents and husbands and wives are strengthened. Together, everyone gains new confidence to face challenges in the year ahead.

Food and Fortune

The Reunion Dinner is the first of many special meals that are served during the Spring Festival. China is a large country, of course, so diet varies by region. Yet there are some dishes that most families enjoy. The best-known is the dumpling with its tasty fillings. Shaped like a gold ingot, this popular and delicious food represents wealth. A hot pot and fish, part of any good meal on New Year’s Eve, also signify hope for the future. Boiling, steaming, and warm, a hot pot symbolizes prosperity. In Chinese, a homonym for the word “fish” implies abundance and affluence.

Speech and Action

Cooking and eating are important, but they’re just part of the Spring Festival. During the Chinese New Year, it’s important to avoid saying unlucky words. Don’t quarrel with or curse others, as both are bad for health and fortune. Remember that a smooth and pleasant start to the New Year ensures good luck all-year long. Also, it’s best to avoid chores such as sweeping the floor or taking out the trash, as good fortune could be swept away. If you need to clean a room, then sweep from the outside in – and keep all garbage bags until the fifth day of the New Year.

Colors and Symbols

Colorful decorations also represent China’s hopes for the New Year. The color red signifies joy, luck, and a longing for a better life. During the Spring Festival, many Chinese households hang red lanterns and paste pairs of red couplets to doors. Generally, the color red accompanies golden yellow. Because the New Year begins when winter’s snows still cover the fields, golden yellow symbolizes farmers’ longing for next year’s harvest.

Doing Business in China

For Westerners doing business in China, participating in the New Year celebration offers a deeper understanding of Chinese culture. To enjoy the festival-like atmosphere and appreciate the hospitality of Chinese people, join in a family feast and paste a pair of red couplets to your door. Yes, it’s too late to celebrate the start of this New Year, but the Year of the Snake lasts until January 30, 2014. Until then and beyond, I hope you’ll build stronger relationships with Chinese friends.

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