新年快樂 (Xin Nian Kuai Le)

While in Italy it’s time to celebrate Carnival, in the other part of the world the Taiwanese are getting ready to  give a hearty welcome to the Chinese New Year.

Buddha leaps over the wall

Buddha leaps over the wall

In fact, besides of the common used Gregorian calendar, Taiwanese people also follow the Chinese lunar calendar. According to it, the Chinese New Year is February 9, today.
It lasts fifteen days and “all family members gather together for a big feast at night. There are lots of must have dishes, just to name one, there is a special dish called >Buddha leaps over the wall< ! It was said when a cook was preparing for the dish, it smells so good that even a Buddha tried to jump over the wall, despite he is forbidden to eat meat”.

Although the Italian New Year differ from the culinary point of view from the Chinese one, on the other hand both of them don’t waiver of the red color. “Red is also the color symbolize the goodness and luck in Chinese culture. So people dress with the dash of the red during the new year celebration. Red money envelope is another high light during the CNY, where money is putted inside of the envelope to give to the orderly or younger kids.”

Chinese New Year dinner

Chinese New Year dinner

The origin of the tradition goes back to an ancient legend. “Nian” was a strong and cruel monster, capable of awful deeds. He used to come out on the New Year’s Eve to eat animals and human beings. He was so fierce that all villagers were frightened by him. He seemed undefeatable, however, one day, a wise man suggested to scary the giant monster by making loud noises and  by painting all the houses of red. As soon as he heard the noise of firecrackers and saw the red paint on houses, he run away and he never showed up again because since then, “on the New Year’s Eve, as the clock ticks to midnight, there is endless firecrackers going on non stop”.

Couplets on doorways

Couplets on doorways

With the hope that it is going to be a prosperous of the year of little dragon, >“Dragon is the most auspicious animal among the 12 Chinese Animal Zodiac. Snake comes right after the year of Dragon, and people tend to call it the year of little dragon!” <.

再見(Zap-jian) to all

Special thanks to Sherry Lai, teacher of Music and Piano at the International School in Tapei.

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