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Thursday, 3 February 2011

The New Year

Once again we are over the Christmas celebrations and things have settled down in Looe once more although we are in the run up to the school half term in a couple weeks when we will see the first busy period for this year. The streets in Looe on New Years Eve had everyone in fancy dress and ended up with a firework display on the Banjo Pier which it seems all agreed it was an amazing night.

While I am writing about the new year it also brings to mind that one of the worlds leading suppliers of manufactured toys is China and today is February 3rd and the start of the Chinese New Year and one of the most important celebrations for the Chinese population with up to a 40 day holiday when the country can come to a standstill. This is going to be the year of the Rabbit which is said to bring calm and tranquility whereas last year was the Tiger which meant a turbulent and fiery one.

There are many traditions that the Chinese follow at this time of year and cleaning their houses to clear and sweep away any bad luck from the previous year to make way for the good fortune to enter being one of them before the year starts . Their New Years Eve meal is certain to be of fish and is comparable to our Christmas Dinner we have in the West.

Red is a very important colour in their celebrations and symbolizes truth and sincerity. They might paint their windows and door frames this colour, with the wearing of red clothes and to the giving and receiving of red packets or envelopes which contain money and always an even amount as odd numbers are considered to bring bad luck.

On the fifteenth night of their New Year is the Chinese Lantern Festival which brings a mystical feeling with it as it coincides with the first full moon of the new year and it is the night for watching Lion and Dragon street dancing, the releasing of various lanterns to float skyward for the bringing of good fortune to the sound of firecrackers echoing around.
The Chinese Lantern is now becoming increasingly popular in this country for our own celebrations from weddings to our New Year and on New Years Eve there were dozens floating in the night sky where I live. Perhaps we are all looking for some good fortune to come our way.

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