Happy Chinese New Year! Welcome to the Year of the Goat. Interview with Professor ZHANG Sirui.

If you did not get a good head start this year, don’t worry, you have a second chance with the Chinese New Year!

We interviewed Professor ZHANG Sirui, President of the Belgium-China Association and asked him how the European Chinese community is celebrating it.

“The Chinese New Year is traditionally celebrated with the family.”, says Mr. Zhang. The New Year’s Eve dinner is believed to be the most important meal of the year. Certain foods are traditionally eaten because of their symbolic meanings. For example, fish is a must as the Chinese word for fish sounds like the word for surplus. Eating fish is believed to bring a surplus of money and good luck in the coming year.

“At the Association, we will celebrate New Year by making all together the famous “jiaozi”, which is delicious raviolis and we will also eat delicious new-year pastries and drink Chinese wine. ”, says Mr. Zhang.

It is also during this time that many people clean their homes to welcome Spring. They also put up red posters with poetic verses on it and decorate their homes with red lanterns as “Red” is the main colour for the festival because it is believed to be a lucky colour.

In the evening of the New Year Eve, many people set off fireworks and firecrackers, hoping to cast away any bad luck and bring forth good luck. In fact, Chinese people were the ones that invented fireworks in the 7th century and introduced them in Europe later on.

Other activities included also dragon and lion dances . These dances tell the story of the creation of New Year which is, that, over 4000 years ago, Shun, the ancient China’s mythological emperor, led his ministers to worship heaven and earth.

So why is the Chinese New Year on the 19 of February?

Chines zodiac“The 19 February 2015 is the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar.” Sais Mr. Zhang. Its date varies from year to year, always somewhere in the period of January 21 to February 20. It is the longest public holiday in China and will end this year on 5 March.

The Chinese lunar calendar is associated with the Chinese zodiac, which has 12 animal signs: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

2015 is a year of the “Goat” and people born in the year of the goat (1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991 and 2003) are said to be honest, intimate, like to be in groups and can be easily moved by the misfortune of others.

Over all, we wish everyone a happy Chinese New Year!

For more information about the Belgium Chinese Institute and their events please visit their website: www.belchin.be


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