2012: The year of the dragon

On Monday the 23rd of January 2012, the Chinese year of the dragon was ushered in which symbolises vitality, unrestrained enthusiasm, exhilaration, intensity and good luck. Of the traditional Chinese holidays, the New Year is the most important.

The Chinese New Year marks the end of the winter season with the festival beginning on the first day of the month in the traditional Chinese calendar and ends with the Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day.

It is quite typical for the Chinese New Year celebrations to include families gathering and having an annual reunion dinner. The New Year will also be celebrated in countries with significant Chinese populations, such as China including Macau, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

In countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States, the Chinese New Year is not an official holiday but nevertheless many ethnic Chinese gather for large celebrations. In addition to this Australia Post, Canada Post, and the US Postal Service issue New Year themed stamps which reflects just how far Chinese culture impacts on the Western culture.

The biggest event of the Chinese New Year’s Eve is the dinner, which can be compared to Christmas dinner in the West. The food you can expect to see includes pig, duck, chicken and sweet delicacies. It is also quite common to see fish served as it symbolises potential prosperity in the year to come.

The traditional way to finish the Chinese New Year celebrations is with one of their most significant discoveries, fireworks, which were originally thought to scare away evil spirits. It is also common to buy gifts for your parents, give your children money in red envelopes and to dress in red as the colour red is thought to drive away bad luck.

The Chinese New Year traditionally an opportunity to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone. This auspicious and ancient holiday, having been observed annually in China for more than 5,000 years is the longest and most important festivity in the Chinese calendar.

Chinese translation in London and other major western cities will almost certainly have seen their Chinese translation service increase in recent years as the economic prosperity of China has boomed and trade with the West has continued to increase.