Friday, February 4, 2011

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Happy Chinese New Year!

I've been to Chinatown in San Francisco (the largest in the US) many times around Chinese New Year and I always thought the signs in the windows that said Gung Hay Fat Choy meant Happy New Year. Um... not really.

About twenty years ago (gosh, can't believe it's been that long), I had a Chinese exchange student live with me for a year. "Ray" (the Americanized name he used) was from Shanghai, and when I said Gung Hay Fat Choy to him he gave me a funny look (actually he gave me a lot of funny looks in the time he lived with me, but that's another story).

I said, "Doesn't that mean Happy New Year?"

He said, "No, it means 'I hope you will be rich.'"

To which I replied, "That would make my year very happy!"

He laughed and agreed.

Anyway, this is the Year of the Rabbit (or hare). One of the twelve animal signs of the Chinese zodiac. I was born in the Year of the Rabbit so I feel like this is "my year!" In case you aren't familiar with the twelve animals (most Chinese restaurants here in California have them somewhere -- placemats, menus, posters on the wall) they are:
Rat
Ox
Tiger
Rabbit
Dragon
Snake
Horse
Goat
Monkey
Rooster
Dog
Pig

According to one Chinese zodiac site I visited, those born in the year of the Rabbit are popular, compassionate, sincere, and they avoid conflict. They also like to be surrounded by friends and family. Now honestly, who doesn't? And who would argue with that description?

This same site says Rabbits are good communicators and good careers for them include actor, teacher, fashion designer, or writer! Okay, looks like they got that one right.

Interestingly enough, my DH was also born in the year of the Rabbit... or maybe not. His birthday always falls very close and sometimes ON Chinese New Year. So it's possible he's actually a Tiger, which would explain a lot... Oh, and careers for Tigers include artist.

What is your Chinese zodiac sign? Ever been to a Chinese New Year celebration? Please share the details. Oh, and gung hay fat choy -- I really do hope you'll be rich!


8 comments:

Margay said...

My sign is the ox. I don't know what that says about me. Haven't been to a Chinese New Year celebration, but I bet it'd be cool.

Jane said...

Happy New Year. I've been to a few Chinese New Year celebrations in Chinatown. Yesterday we only ate vegetarian dishes.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Happy Chinese New Year, Margay!

My source says people born in the year of the Ox are strong, dependable and hard working. Good careers include: interior designer, engineer, and archeologist. VERY IMPRESSIVE!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Happy Chinese New Year, Jane!

Did you see lion dancers yesterday? I love those!

One of my fave Chinese dishes is Chow Fun, but I like meat (preferably shrimp) in it. ;-)

AC

Margay said...

Well, Cindy, that's interesting. I guess with my younger daughter being sick most of her life (physical and psychological) and having to have spinal surgery four months ago - not to mention all the other illnesses in my family - I guess I'd have to be strong and dependable. As for the careers, archaeologist would come closest to what I do, being a writer and an amateur genealogist - I love digging things up in the name of research!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Margay,
I immediately thought of all the challenges you've had recently and concluded, she MUST be strong! And you are right about genealogy being a kind of archaeology! Writing too. ;-)

AC

Margay said...

The funny thing is, I used to consider myself a weak person because I like to get input from and rely upon other people. Plus, I'm a very emotional person and when I'm sad, I cry - I used to think that was a weakness.

I've come to realize that crying is not a weakness - it is a cleansing of the soul. When you cry, you wash away the bad and then you're better able to handle what it is you must handle. That's not weak; that's the opposite. It takes a strong person to allow themselves to connect with their feelings like that.

And asking for someone's input or help doesn't mean you're weak, either. It just means you've realized sometimes you need a new perspective on a situation. And sometimes, you just need to delegate. Realizing you can't handle it all on your own doesn't make you weak - it makes you smart. There's nothing wrong with asking for help. In fact, it's good business sense!

Sheila Deeth said...

Don't know my sign, but I like the animals. Lovely rabbit sign picture.