The Year of the Goat/Sheep: Chinese New Year

While today may seem like a regular day, for some it is quite the holiday. For me, it is my Valentine’s Day since Garrett and I missed out on the normal one due to ice and work schedules. We never liked to follow trends anyway.

That isn’t the holiday I’m talking about, though. Today is the Chinese New Year. What makes it even cooler, is it marks the year of the goat/sheep–two of my favorite farm animals. When I heard that it was the year of the goat/sheep, I got curious as to what this meant and what exactly the Chinese New Year entails.

Luckily, I have a friend at school who is an international student from China. Yue answered all my questions, and told me some pretty cool stuff. So, here is what I learned:

The Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival, is based off of the lunar calendar. In China, this holiday is equivalent to our Christmas except wearing red and green is a no,no. On the Spring Festival, people wear red, but green is considered unlucky. In addition, Chinese people think that the combination of red and green is very ugly. I thought this was very interesting, and will be sure to not wear a Christmas colored sweater if I ever visit China.

no gren
Don’t wear green!

When I asked Yue if it was the year of the goat or the sheep, she explained that Chinese people do not differentiate between the two. This was very odd to me, as they are so different for me. I suppose, then you could say that it is the year of goat or sheep–pick your favorite 🙂 Yue said that there wasn’t anything really special about the year of the goat/sheep, but senior citizens in China think that babies born in this year are weak.

goat

Where my family has black-eyed peas and collard greens for New Year’s, Yue’s family makes dumplings. She told me that it is a lengthy process to make the dumplings and the filling for them. Her family enjoys dumplings filled with mutton and carrots, but other families may use a combination of pork, green Chinese onion, and cabbage. In addition to eating dumplings, there are fireworks. Yue likes to watch the Spring Festival Gala with her family. When it comes to the Lunar New Year, people wear new clothes (usually red), and kids say “Happy New Year” to their parents and grandparents. Older generations give “red bag” filled with money to the children.

Yue also shared with me these facts about the holiday:

One week before the Spring Festival, many Chinese workers who work in big cities, like Beijing and Shanghai, begin to go back to their hometown, the rural area in China. The expense for travel through half of China is not cheap. But these workers would rather spend a large amount of money they earned during the last year just to go back home and get together with their families. So, Spring Festival is not only a holiday for people to have a break, but also a convention to remind each generation the meaning of family and true happiness. 

I’m so thankful to Yue for sharing her culture with me. I enjoyed learning about it! So, here is to the year of the goat/sheep. Happy Chinese New Year everyone! Perhaps, there will be dumplings on the menu today.

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