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LUNAR NEW YEAR
At the heart of many fables, is often a battle between good and evil and Chinese New Year—beginning on the new moon, between the 21st January and 20th February, is a rich, colourful and global celebration, laden with optimism and superstition.
Having lived in Hong Kong for three years as a young woman, Annoushka has always found Chinese culture and tradition inspiring and magical.
“Hong Kong holds an incredibly special place in my heart—not only did I meet my husband John there, but so many lifelong friends.”
“I love the city’s energy and feeling that everything is possible—I designed my first piece of jewellery there—my engagement ring, as well as dreaming up the plans for what would be our first business together.”
“I love the city’s energy and feeling that everything is possible—I designed my first piece of jewellery there—my engagement ring, as well as dreaming up the plans for what would be our first business together.”
Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year, is a moment to sweep away ill-fortune, celebrate the end of winter and welcome spring and the accompanying harvest—which in accordance with the traditional Chinese lunar calendar falls this year, on Friday 12th February—the year of the Ox.
The Chinese Zodiac, or Shengxiao depicts 12 symbolic animals over a 12-year repeating cycle—Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig—each with its own unique characteristics and meanings. Much like the Ancient Greeks, who we believe first recorded the twelve signs of the Zodiac, Chinese culture believes that people born in a given year have the personality of that year's animal. Like the Ox, a sturdy and faithful friend in Chinese agriculture, people born in this year are believed to be faithful, honest, and persistent.
“There isn't a time when you can feel the energy and nature of the Chinese people more than at Chinese New Year—there is so much genuine generosity and optimism—time is spent intricately dressing every window and wall, traditional food is lovingly cooked, families gather, and gifts are exchanged—all to welcome in the year with good fortune!”
Synonymous with prosperity, luck, energy and happiness, red is undeniably the colour of Chinese New Year. According to folklore, a demon would appear on the eve of the festival—its intention to spread sickness among sleeping children. To stay awake and deter the demon, parents would wrap bright copper coins in red paper for their children to play with. If a child fell asleep, the sheen of the coins would scare the monster away.
Today, this sentiment is translated in the tradition of red packets. Known in Cantonese as Lai See or Hongbao in Mandarin, these red paper envelopes, sometimes containing money, are gifted between friends and family as a token of prosperity for the year ahead—but their significance lies in their colour, not just the money enclosed.
“The last 18 months have been very difficult for Hong Kong, whether it’s political unrest and demonstrations on the street, or all the challenges brought about by Covid 19—I have no doubt the year of the Ox will only further highlight the resilience and determination of the city.”
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