In all the Chinese societies, a new year is celebrated twice: one on the first of January, and the other one is today this year! So to all of you, happy new year again, I wish you good health, good luck and good fortune!
In ancient China (and even today), lunar calendar was used predominantly. The calendar was calculated based on the cycle of the moon, that’s why the first day of a lunar year is not necessarily the first of January. However, the meaning behind is identical to the new year celebration in the Western world: people praise the forthcoming spring, take a pause after a year of working, and most importantly, to spend a precise time with family members.
In Hong Kong, visiting the flower fair and the spring market at Victoria Park is a routine:
Below are some very popular choices:
Peach blossom: symbolizes good luck (in particular in romantic relationship)
Kumquat tree: symbolizes good fortune due to the golden color of kumquats. It is a equivalence to Christmas tree here.
Orchid & narcissus: suitable to grow indoor with amiable flowers and fragrance
In addition, the firework display and count-down along the Victoria Harbor is an annual event:
Thousands flock to Taoist or Buddhism temples to pray for good luck and draw a divination sticks for forecasting the future. Not only members of the common public pray for their own good, but also the Hong Kong government sends an high official representative to draw one! (Yes this is Hong Kong XD) The result of that stick could become a local gossip for years.
Che Kung Miu, Shatin, where the divination draw takes place
Compare to Hong Kong, there is much less to do for celebrating the coming lunar new year here. In order to ease our nostalgia, the CSSA (Chinese Scholars and Students Association) organizes a gorgeous gala for us! Below are some highlights (from my perspective XP):
For example, one of the most remarkable one is the performance of Kunqu, which is a form of Chinese opera. The story is based on the famous historical tail “Farewell My Concubine” which took place 2000 years ago.
The recitation of “A Moonlit Night on the Spring River” fuses Chinese classical literature, Chinese traditional musical instruments and Chinese calligraphy art on the stage.
The two Xiangsheng actors in traditional costume
My favorite is the “Xiangsheng” performed by two students. Xiangsheng closely resembles talkshow in the Western culture, through which the two Xiangsheng actors make fun of the daily events to entertain the audience. The topic of their performance is “To find a room in Stockholm”. I could not stop laughing in that five minutes!
Similar to A Moonlit Night on the Spring River, the last program on the list is is also a hodgepodge (but in another way). In this program, the classical Dunhuang wall painting, a romantic reunion between two Chinese ex-lovers, aerospace engineering and patriotism were mysteriously alloyed so that whole gala was pushed to its pinnacle. I truly praise the imagination of the playwright.
If you are interested in the Kunqu, Xiangsheng or other Chinese items mentioned in this blog, you may find the links useful:
“Farewell My Concubine” (in film): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farewell_My_Concubine_(film)
Divination draw by Hong Kong government (in Chinese only): https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/香港政府農曆新年求籤活動